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People's Daily Online

China to become only nation to run a space station by 2024

People's Daily Online

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online) 16:22, October 08, 2016

China's space lab Tiangong-2 roars into the air on the back of a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, Sept. 15, 2016. (Xinhua Photo)

Due to the International Space Station's (ISS) possible retirement in 2024, China is expected to be the only nation with a space station in service by that time, an official said on Oct. 7.

"China plans to launch the experimental core module of its space station around 2018, which will be sent into orbit with a Long March-5 carrier rocket. Around 2022, the country will carry out research on a 20-ton combination space station, eventually sending the station into space," said Lei Fanpei, chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), during an interview with the Xinhua News Agency.

According to Lei, China's space station will include a core module and two lad modules, with ports that will allow multiple spacecraft to dock. The space station has a designed lifespan of 10 years in orbit 400 kilometers above the earth's surface. A manned spacecraft and cargo spacecraft will travel between the station and Earth to provide supplies.

"By that time, China will become the second country capable of independently building a space station. The first country is Russia," Lei added.

Though a late starter when it comes to space exploration, China has made great progress in aerospace research over the past several decades. This is despite the fact that security concerns voiced by the U.S. prevented China from participating in the ISS program.

China's space station boasts several platforms designated for cooperation with scientists from other nations. China is willing to carry out international communication about the development of equipment, joint training and other space concerns, according to Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut.

A 2015 report by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration stated that the ISS will remain in service at least through 2024.

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