China formally launches its manned space station program

October 27th, 2010 - 6:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing, Oct 27 (ANI): China has formally launched its manned space station program, aiming to complete the construction of a “relatively large” manned space laboratory around 2020, a spokesman for the national manned space program has said.

The spokesman said that China was aiming to develop and launch the first part of a space laboratory before 2016, focusing on breakthroughs in living conditions for astronauts and research applications, China Daily reported.

According to him, the country would develop and launch a core cabin and a second laboratory module around 2020, which would be assembled in orbit around the earth into a manned space station.

“Technologies needed to build and run the space station complex and long-term manned space flight in terrestrial space will be grasped,” said the spokesman.

China plans to launch two unmanned space modules, Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8, in 2011, which are expected to accomplish the country’s first space docking, and are regarded as an essential step toward building a space station, the paper said.

Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, would eventually be transformed into a manned space laboratory after experimental dockings with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, with the last two carrying two or three astronauts each, it added. (ANI)

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