China space program took off in 1975 with the successful launch of its first recoverable satellite. China’s space program didn’t stop there. By 2003, China became the third country on the planet to put a man into space on October 15, and in 2008, Chinese astronauts completed their first spacewalk.
Space.com reported, “Tangong-1 is a single-module space station operated by the China National Space Administration. The module was launched in 2011 and hosted two crews of taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) in 2012 and 2013. …
“In 2016, Chinese flight controllers lost control of Tiangong-1, sealing the 8.5 metric ton space lab’s fate. Tiangong-1’s decaying orbit may make it fall into Earth’s atmosphere sometime between March 30 and April 2, 2018.” …
“A second space station, Tiangong-2, launched on Sept. 15, 2016, to further test out space station technologies. A crewed docking mission, Shenzhou 11, visited the space station in October and November 2016. The Chinese then tested out docking and refueling with a cargo ship, called Tianzhou-1. The cargo spacecraft made three dockings in April, June, and September in 2017. The last docking was performed in just 6.5 hours instead of two days.”
Wired reports the future of China’s space program. One of China’s nearest goals is the plan to land a rover on the dark side of the Moon in 2018. … The plan is to study the geology of the Moon’s far side.”
China also plans to capture an asteroid and put it in orbit around the Moon where they will study it.
The Chinese also want to send an orbiter, lander, and rover to the red planet by 2020. “The best and most direct method to look for evidence of life on Mars is to explore the surface. Mars will be a key focus of China’s deep space exploration in the future,” says Zheng Yongchun, an associate researcher with the National Astronomical Observatory.
Wired also reports, “Not content with sending humans to asteroids, the Moon and Mars, China also plans on building its very own space station. The first part of the Chinese large modular space station is expected to go into orbit around Earth in 2019 with the final sections in place by 2022. The station will host three crew members, unlike previous efforts which could not support any crew.”
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