A week after the successful launch of its first cargo spacecraft, the Tianzhou-1, China announced its plans to build its own permanent base in space similar to the International Space Station.
According to Chinese officials, the planned base in orbit will take them a step closer to becoming a “major space power”. Construction of the ambitious project is set to commence in about two years.
China’s Tianzhou-1 spacecraft completed the first of three planned docking attempts with the orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 two days after it was launched on April 20. Directed by the China National Space Administration, the five-day refueling was successfully completed on Thursday, reports Daily Mail.
“This again announces the ambition and aspiration of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people, and our resolute confidence in becoming a major space power,” Wang Zhaoyao, the space station project’s supervisor was quoted as saying.
“After completing experimental stage spaceflight missions, we will enter the development and construction phase. According to our plans, we will carry out the assembly and construction of China’s manned space station between 2019 and 2022.”
The announcement also comes after news of the Chinese and European space agencies’ reported possible collaboration to construct a base on the moon. The proposed “Moon Village” was disclosed by the director-general of the European Space Agency ESA, Johann-Dietrich Woerner. The report was later confirmed by CNSA secretary general Tian Yulong and verified by ESA spokesperson, Pal Hvistendahl.