China starts manned space station project

15:24, October 27, 2010      

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A project to construct China's first manned space station has been officially launched and it is expected to be completed by around 2020, when a large scale national space laboratory will be also set up, according to a spokesman from the China Manned Space Engineering Project on Oct. 27.

It was reported that the manned space station project included two stages of construction.

By 2016, a space laboratory is expected to be developed and launched with breakthroughs in key technologies, including mastering the medium-term presence of astronauts and carrying out certain space applications.

By 2020, the pilot cabin and core cabin are expected to be developed and launched. Afterward, the manned space station will be assembled in orbit. Breakthroughs in near-Earth space station assembly technologies, long-term manned space flight in near-Earth orbit and the performance of large-scale space applications are also expected to be achieved.

The spokesman said the construction of China's manned space station project will fully utilize early fruits of manned spaceflight, which included Shenzhou spacecraft, the Long March II F carrier rocket and the launch and landing sites.

He said the completion of the manned space station will full realize the development strategy of China's manned spaceflight. This will further promote China's manned space technology to a higher level and make important contributions to the development of China's scientific and technological progress and innovation to enhance comprehensive national strength and prestige.

According to the plan, China will launch the Shenzhou VIII spacecraft and the Tiangong I target aircraft to carry out the unmanned docking pilot of spacecraft for the first time in 2011.

By Li Mu, People's Daily Online


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