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China's Space Station (Update)

By Keith Cowing
October 30, 2010
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China to launch manned space lab around 2020: report, Reuters
“China said on Wednesday it would launch a space lab to be manned for long stretches within about 10 years, a move it believes would bring it closer to the United States and Russia as powers capable of reaching the moon. The official Xinhua news agency, quoting an unidentified space official, said a trial space lab would be launched before 2016 to test equipment and techniques. But it was not clear if that lab would be manned for long periods.”
NASA chief visits China manned space launch site, AP
“The visit succeeded in boosting understanding between the sides about their programs and the “importance of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit as the underlying principles of any future interaction between our two nations in the area of human spaceflight,” Bolden was quoted as saying. No specific proposals were discussed during the visit, he said.”
Keith’s update: Hmm … Bolden goes to China and doesn’t discuss anything of importance. Then a few days after he gets home China announces that it is going to build its own space station.
US drifting from China in space, Asia Times Online
“In fact, Bolden and other NASA personnel must be very careful about what they say to Chinese space officials. Any discussion of specific projects involving joint cooperation on human space flight activities in particular is tantamount to a powder keg in Washington, DC. This delicate state of affairs has now taken on added meaning given China’s announcement in late October that its own manned space station project has commenced with a possible completion date of 2020.”
Orbital Paths of U.S., China Set to Diverge, Wall Street Journal
“Gen. Charles Bolden became the first head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to tour China’s highly sensitive manned space flight facilities during his visit last week–access that both sides might have portrayed as a major breakthrough in a different climate. China then underlined the scale of its manned space program when it announced Wednesday that it planned to launch the first part of a manned space station by 2016, and to complete a “relatively large” laboratory by around 2020.”
China is on path to ‘militarization of space’, Christian Science Monitor
“Meanwhile, some have pointed out that China’s moonshot, like all space programs, has valuable potential military offshoots. China’s space program is controlled by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which is steadily gaining experience in remote communication and measurement, missile technology, and antisatellite warfare through missions like Chang’e 2.”
China piecing together space station, Nature
“The Tiangong-2 space laboratory, which will be used for scientific experiments and to test living conditions, will be launched by 2016. The Tiangong-3 core cabin unit, which will extend the experimental facilities, will complete the ensemble in 2020. What this means for recent negotiations concerning China’s participation in the International Space Station were not clear. “
China kicks off manned space station program, Xinhua
“China planned to launch two unmanned space modules, Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8, in 2011, which were expected to accomplish the country’s first space docking and were regarded as an essential step toward building a space station. Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, would eventually be transformed into a manned space laboratory after experimental dockings with Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, with the last two carrying two or three astronauts each.”

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