China announces readiness to construct permanent manned space station
China has announced its plan to begin the construction of a permanent manned space station, placing the East Asian giant higher among the few countries with advanced space technology.
“After completing experimental stage spaceflight missions, we will enter the development and construction phase. According to our plans we will carry out the assembly and construction of China’s manned space station between 2019 and 2022,” project supervisor Wang Zhaoyao told a news briefing in Beijing on Friday.
The announcement came after Chinese cargo spacecraft, the Tianzhou-1, which was launched on April 20, completed refueling the Tiangong-2 spacelab.
“So far, we have obtained all key technology needed for the construction and operation of a space station. And the basic supporting system is in place. We now have the capacity to build a space station. What we are waiting for are different modules of the space station. Once the modules are made, we can start the construction of the space station in orbit,” Wang said during a State Council press conference.
Tianzhou-class cargo ships will be delivering basic supplies and necessities, including fuel, water, food and equipment, needed to maintain the future space station.
The five-day refueling, which was completed on Thursday, marked the successful achievement of a key step in Beijing’s plan to build a permanent manned space station.
“This again announces the ambition and aspiration of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people, and our resolute confidence in becoming a major space power,” said Wang.
According to Wang, dozens of tests were carried out during the space missions to assure the safe completion of the space station by approximately 2022.
The space station is expected to orbit Earth for at least 10 years after its completion.
The United States has acknowledged China’s huge advancements in the field of space and aeronautics.
Washington claims Beijing pursuance of such activities aims to prevent other nations from using space-based military assets. China says it has only peaceful ambitions in space.