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Celebrating China's Space Day


04-24-2017 13:49 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

Monday marks China's second national 'Space Day'. Meanwhile, China's first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 was launched into orbit on Thursday, where it will fuel the Tiangong-2 space lab and perform experiments. The head of the Space Design Department of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation Wang Xiang says China's aim is to build a space station by 2022.

China takes another step toward its goal of putting a space station into orbit in the next five years, by sending its first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 into space on Thursday.

The cargo ship is expected to rendezvous three times with Tiangong-2 over the next five months. This is an important step in preparing to build China's first space station by 2022.

"Once the Tianzhou-1 mission is completed, China will become the third country, along with Russia and the United States, to master the technique of refuelling in space," Wang Xiang, head of Space Design Dept of China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation, said.

Wang says developing long-term technology for China's near-earth manned space lab and constructing the space facilities could mean a more effective and comfortable life for astronauts onboard.

Meanwhile a model prototype of China's first Mars probe is also under development, which the country plans to launch around the summer of 2020.

Long March-5, the latest heavy-lift carrier rocket and also the largest in China, was launched in November.

It has a capacity of 25 tonnes in low Earth orbit and 14 tonnes in geostationary orbit.

"So in the future we want to increase the capacity to four to five times its current of over 20 tons, which means the payload into space will reach hundred tons by around 2030. Therefore we aim to increase the payload of the space project, so we can conduct deeper space exploration and even a manned lunar landing," Li Hong, director of Carrier Rocket Technology Institute of China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation, said.

Lunar landings and deep space exploration missions will require China's new generation of heavy-lift carrier rocket, Long March-9, due for launch around 2030.

Long March-5 has a diameter of five meters with a lift-off weight of over eight hundred tons. It uses non-toxic and pollution-free propellant.

Experts say Long March-9's diameter and height will be much larger than the Long March-5, and its thrust will also be much stronger. This will allow it to take China's space exploration much further.

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