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Will China Become the Only Country With a Space Station by 2024?

Oct 10, 2016 04:20 AM EDT
China Launches Its First Space Laboratory Module Tiangong-1
China is building a space station and it may be the only one in 2024 when the International Space Station (ISS) retires.
(Photo : Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

China wants to become the next 'Space Giant' and they saw an opportunity to dominate the space industry by building their own space station that will be operational the same time the International Space Station (ISS) will retire.

The International Space Station (ISS) is the most popular artificial science lab in the world, but it is about to retire in 2024. But China, with ambitions to become the next space giant, is building its own space station. Will they be the only nation to have a space-based science laboratory by 2024?

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is currently building their own space station and it could be the only one to exist in 2024; if that happens, the whole world will rely on it when it comes to space research and other space flight services off-Earth.

Part of the preparation of this is China's launch of space modules Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. Although China had already lost its contact with Tiangong-1, Tiangong-2 is currently in position after a successful launch on Sept. 14. A report says that China is about to launch one of the main space station modules in 2018 called the Tianhe-1. The module will be carried to space by no other than the most powerful Chinese rocket Long March 5.

According to the Chinese space agencies, there will be several launches related to its new space station in the coming years. The target completion of the space station is by the end of 2024, right when the ISS will retire.

China's space station is a modular model that will be built by combining several modules into one. The most crucial part is a core module and two lab modules. This new Chinese Space Station will have several docking ports for spacecraft. The 20-ton module of the station will be sent to orbit in 2022, according to a report.

There's not a lot of information is available about the Chinese Space Station, but reports say that the module will orbit Earth at 400-kilometer altitude and it will be operational for 10 years. China's plan to build a space station has been around since 1992. And if they succeed in making one, they will be the second nation, next to Russia, to have built a space station.

Currently, the International Space Station (ISS) is the main station for space research. It was launched in 1998 and orbits the Earth 15.54 times every day. The largest artificial body in space can be seen by the naked eye.


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