After being denied access to the ISS (or International Space Station) orbiting the heavens above, China is not scheduling to build their own space station about a decade from now.
China is ready to carry out a multiphase construction program that leads to a large space station around 2020. As a prelude to building that facility, China is set to loft the Tiangong-1 module this year as a platform to help master key rendezvous and docking technologies.
During the projected one- to two-year lifetime of Tiangong-1 — which means “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese — an unpiloted Chinese Shenzhou-8 spacecraft will first attempt to dock with the platform, to be followed later by two piloted Shezhou missions to further hone rendezvous and docking skills. (Space.com)
When completed the space station will allow 3 taikonauts (or Chinese astronauts) to survive up to 40 days in orbit (although the “first piece” will give taikonauts 20 days of life).
China has not indicated whether they will open up the space station to the Chinese private sector, although the People’s Republic has hinted about using it as a means to “strengthen exchanges” with other space faring nations.
While the Chinese space station is not as impressive as the Genesis space stations from Bigelow Aerospace, it’s construction will provide China with some of the critical details needed in order to survive upon the Moon.
Image Credit: CCTV