China to Launch Astronauts to Space Station: When to Watch

Mr. Nie, the commander, informed reporters in Jiuquan on Wednesday that this mission can be extra arduous and difficult than his earlier two.

“We will not only have to arrange the core module, the ‘space home,’” he mentioned, “but also to carry out a series of key technology verifications.”

China’s first two house stations had been short-lived prototypes, however the Tiangong is meant to function for a minimum of a decade, becoming a member of the International Space Station.

The Chinese station will function an orbiting laboratory for the nation’s house program, permitting it to good operations and conduct new experiments — a minimum of 9 of them, thus far, with worldwide companions. Officials have mentioned that when the station is accomplished subsequent yr, they are going to contemplate ferrying international astronauts to the station.

Mr. Ji, the assistant director, acknowledged at a briefing that China was “a latecomer” when it got here to growing an orbiting house station, a feat the United States and Soviet Union completed a long time in the past. He famous, nonetheless, that China benefited from “latecomer advantages,” presumably the experiences of these earlier stations.

Like all of China’s house missions, its successes in house are seen as a validation of the Communist Party’s rule. Mr. Ji famous that the Shenzhou’s crew can be in orbit on July 1, the official anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai 100 years in the past.

“The construction and operation of the space station can be considered an important symbol,” he mentioned, “measuring a country’s economic, technological and comprehensive strength.”

Claire Fu contributed analysis.

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