China plans to build its own space station in around 2020

14:49, September 19, 2010      

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China plans to set up the country's orbital space station by around 2020, said Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut sent into space in 2003, when visiting China's space base in Xi'an Saturday.

Yang revealed that China plans to launch the unmanned space station Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 in middle and the second half of 2011, which is expected to accomplish the country's first unmanned space docking test and regarded as an essential step toward building a space station.

In 2012, both manned and unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 will be launched to dock with Tiangong space station to conduct preparations for building the space station.

Yang said that China's manned space project has three periods. Shenzhou-5 and Shenzhou-6 comprised the first period, the aim of which is to achieve a manned space flight; Shenzhou-7 was the first phase of the second period, and it involved a successful spacewalk.

Together with Yang Liwei, China's astronaut Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming also had a visit to the space base. They introduced the future of China's manned space project and spacewalk the astronaut Zhai Zhigang conducted during the Shenzhou-7 flight in 2008.

By Zhao Chenyan, People's Daily Online


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