China to be only country with a space station by 2024
Amidst international powers compete for a better access in space, Chain claims that the country will have the only space station in service in 2024, when the International Space Station (ISS) retires.
According to Lei Fanpei, chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), the country plans to launch the experimental core module of its space station around 2018 with the support of a Long March 5 heavyload carrier rocket.
Lei Fanpei said: “China will be the only country having a space station in service as the International Space Station currently in service would retire by 2024.”
The 18,143kg combination space station is expected to be sent into orbit around 2022 and will have a core module and two lab modules, with ports that will allow multiple spacecraft to dock, says CASC Chief.
Claiming astronauts can stay at the space station for over a year, Lei Fanpei said a manned spacecraft and cargo spacecraft will travel between the space station and Earth to provide supplies.
Many reports state that the station will orbit the earth at an altitude of 400 km and will have a lifespan of 10 years.
China’s efforts for a space station dates back to 1992 and with this achievement, which took three decades to be a reality, China will become the second country after Russia to have developed a space station.
The current home of astronauts was first launched in 1998. The first piece of the station was launched by a Russian rocket while more pieces were added later.
Though the first crew arrived in 2000, the project was completed in 2011 by the ISS programme, which is a joint project among five participating space agencies including NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.