BEIJING (Web Desk) – China has outlined a timetable for future launches to assemble and finally operate a 60 ton space station by 2022.
Deputy Manager of the Manned Space Engineering Office Wu Ping announced that China would launch its second orbiting space lab, Tiangong-2, into low orbit, RT reported on Saturday.
China established its first space lab, Tiangong-1, in September 2011 and conducted two docking exercises through it. The orbital lab was taken out of service in March.
By around 2022, China hopes to establish the country’s first orbiting space station. It will consist of three sections – two labs attached to a center module. Saturday’s launch marks a key step towards China’s plan to eventually run a permanent space station.
So far, Chinese scientists have projected an additional three space launches by April next year.
The crew members for the mission have already been selected and are now undergoing intense training, Wu said.
In the beginning, this month the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) agreed to act together to develop space capabilities on board China’s future space station.