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Preparatory Tests for Manned Space Station Mission to Start Later This Year

Mar 07, 2019     Email"> PrintText Size


The heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March 5 blasts off Nov 3, 2016 at Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan province. [Photo/Xinhua] The heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March 5 blasts off Nov 3, 2016 at Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan province. [Photo/Xinhua] 

China will start launching preparatory tests for its manned space station mission in the second half of this year, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The agency said in a statement on Monday that the core module of the space station, a Long March 5B carrier rocket and payloads to be carried by the rocket's maiden flight will be transported to the Wenchang Space Launch Site in the island province of Hainan in the second half of 2019 to conduct joint tests and drills.

After those tests and drills, the Long March 5B rocket will carry out its debut flight at the Wenchang site at a proper time, the agency said, without giving an exact time for the launch.

Sources close to China's manned space program said that after the maiden flight, Long March 5B will be tasked with lifting parts of the nation's first manned space station into space where those parts will be assembled by astronauts.

Currently, the space station's core module and a Long March 5B are under construction, the agency said, adding that it is also selecting and training astronauts for this mission.

According to government plans made public previously, China will start putting together its first manned space station around 2020 and in the first step, a Long March 5B will put the station's core module into orbit that year. Next, other components and astronauts will be ferried to the core module to assemble the station.

The space station is expected to be built and become fully operational around 2022 and is set to operate for about 15 years, according to the China Academy of Space Technology, contractor of the station's development and construction. (chinadaily.com.cn)

(Editor: LIU Jia)



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