China Space Station: Features of Shenzhou-18 manned spacecraft


China launched the Shenzhou-18 manned spaceship on Thursday, the third since China’s space station entered the application and development phase. It has the same design as Shenzhou-16, -17 and the following -19 spacecraft with some important modifications like upgraded batteries, according to its developer, the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).

“From the general technical state, there are the orbital module, the re-entry module, and the propellant module. And there are solar panels and the engines. They are consistent with the previous technological designs,” said Chen Tongxiang from CAST.

She introduced that the biggest difference this time is the upgrade to the spacecraft’s battery, replacing the cadmium-nickel battery with a lighter and smaller lithium one that has a much longer life.

“As a manned vehicle, the Shenzhou spacecraft requires the highest safety and reliability. The upgrade to the battery has been fully verified in our space station, cargo ships and other spacecraft,” Chen noted.

There are also small modifications, like a little more space for space science experiments, said Chen.

Read more: China launches Shenzhou-18 manned mission, sending three-member crew to space