China’s ambitious space station project might get implemented a bit earlier than expected. This has been reported by Chinese website, China Daily.The first of the three space modules, which will build the 60 ton Chinese Space station, was earlier set for launch in 2020. Nut as per a revised schedule, the first module may be launched, as early as 2018.
The second and third modules have also been shifted to an earlier date, and are now expected to be launched in 2020 and 2022 respectively.
Since the International Space Station is expected to be retired in about 2024, China’s station may be the only remaining base for mankind in space, thus giving the Chinese space program, a major lead ahead of others.
According to China Daily, “We set the date as a preliminary goal,” said Gu Yidong, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a leading research expert in manned space stations.
Gu further said at a Beijing forum on space research. :
The date might be changed because a number of factors can influence a launch date. This is a common feature in international research.
China launched the Tiangong-1 space lab in 2011. Over the next two years an unmanned and two manned spaceships docked with it, proving China’s rendezvous and docking technologies.
China is expected to launch its second space lab, the Tiangong-2, around 2015, which will test the technology to sustain astronauts for longer periods in space as well as conduct experiments.