Chinese space station to be launched in 2020November 14th, 2007 - 8:38 am ICT by admin
Former president Jiang Zemin announced the three-stage manned space flight plan in 1992.
Marking the first stage were two manned space missions during the last four years, including the first by Shenzhou V in 2003.
The second stage, planned for Shenzhou VII in 2008 with several astronauts, will test space walking and other out-of-capsule space missions.
After that, China will be a substantial step closer to establishing its own space station, Long said.
The 400-ton International Space Station is a joint project of 16 nations: the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, Brazil and 11 countries from the European Space Agency, and orbits some 360 km above Earth.
China has expressed interest in becoming the 17th nation to join the project.
Long, one of the first researchers to push for heavier rockets 20 years ago, said he was optimistic about the space station plan because China had made significant progress developing a new family of rocket launchers.
He revealed that key technology breakthroughs - including the yet-to-be-built powerful Long March 5 carrier rockets - had put the project closer to production stage.
The new-generation Long March 5 rocket is likely to undergo launch trials by 2013 and is expected to be the fourth most powerful rocket in the world, after two developed by the US and one by the EU.
The Long March 5 rockets will be made in Tianjin. (ANI)
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Tags: 360, chinese space, first space station, key technology, launch, lunar probe, manned space flight, manned space missions, manned space program, optimistic, orbits, own space station, president jiang zemin, production stage, rocket launchers, rockets, shenzhou, substantial step, technology breakthroughs, told china