NewsChina is planning a huge spaceship - bigger than...

China is planning a huge spaceship – bigger than the Enterprise

The planned spaceship from China should be one kilometer long. Star Treks Enterprise was just a fictional 642.5 meters long.

Beijing – It sounds like science fiction and yet it is part of the actual future planning in space travel. The project is part of a call by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), a funding agency of the Ministry of Science and Technology. It is about a feasibility study of a spaceship, the size of which is set at 1000 meters – larger than all space stations that have been in operation so far.

The authors ascribed a daring 642.5 meters to the spaceship Enterprise from the science fiction series Star Trek, not even two thirds of the Chinese project. With its 110 meters, the International Space Station ISS is just over a tenth and is the largest manned space station to date. A project of this size faces all kinds of hurdles to be overcome that stand in the way of implementation. Therefore, in its appeal, the NFSC calls on scientists to submit their research ideas that could solve the problems of the mega-project, as the science portal Live Science reports.

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One of these problems is the transportation of materials to build the space shuttle into orbit. Trying to put a ship of this size into space in one piece doesn’t make much sense. The transport must therefore take place in partial steps.

Das undatierte Archivbild zeigt das Raumschiff USS Enterprise aus der  US-Fernsehserie „Star Trek“, die in Deutschland unter dem Titel „Raumschiff Enterprise“ lief.


The undated archive picture shows the spaceship USS Enterprise from the US television series “Star Trek”, which ran in Germany under the title “Raumschiff Enterprise”. (Archive)

In order to need as few partial steps – each of which means their own rocket launches with resources on board – as possible, engineers are also looking for research ideas for a resource-saving lightweight construction for the spaceship. Because the less material is required, the fewer transport routes it logically needs.

The next sticking point is setting up the ship in orbit. Putting structures of this size (and mass) together in space also requires new technologies. The duration of the feasibility study is set at 5 years and the funding has a budget of around 2 million euros.

China explores “secrets of the universe”

And why is it all? China sees space stations of this size as “vital strategic aerospace equipment for the future use of space resources, the exploration of the mysteries of the universe and long-term life in orbit,” reports Live Science. Former NASA chief technologist Mason Peck told the science portal that the challenge was not a scientific problem, but one for engineers. In this respect, it is definitely an achievable goal.

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“I wouldn’t describe the problems as insurmountable, but rather as problems of scale,” says Peck. The biggest challenge is the financing anyway. The ISS cost roughly $ 100 billion. A space station ten times its size is likely to blow even the most generous national budget. It can only be speculated whether China would enter into international cooperation for this reason if it were implemented. (Nadja Austel)

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