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November 03, 2010

China Plans manned space station by 2020 and unmanned space modules starting in 2011

China has formally begun its manned space station program, aiming to complete construction of a "relatively large" manned space laboratory around 2020, said a spokesman for the national manned space program.

China was aiming to develop and launch the first part of a space laboratory before 2016, focusing on breakthroughs in living conditions for astronauts and research applications.

The country would develop and launch a core cabin and a second laboratory module around 2020, which would be assembled in orbit around the earth into a manned space station.



China planned to launch two unmanned space modules, Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8, in 2011, which were expected to accomplish the country's first space docking and were regarded as an essential step toward building a space station.

Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, would eventually be transformed into a manned space laboratory after experimental dockings with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, with the last two carrying two or three astronauts each.


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