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Asia Minute: China’s Space Ambitions


China is one step closer to its goal of establishing a permanent space station.  Last night, a rocket launch carried a component into space which is a key part of the project.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

China has launched its second short-term version of a space station.  It’s a smaller model of the permanent station that China plans to have in orbit sometime in 2022.  This is about 50-feet long—and it went up without a crew.

Next month, a two person crew will dock with the station….in China’s first manned space mission since 2013.  Plans are for the crew to spend a month on board….making it China’s longest experience keeping astronauts in space.  China’s official news agency Xinhua says more than 40 experiments will be conducted over time on the small vehicle.

As China is gearing up with plans for manned space flight, the United States is scaling back…by the time the permanent Chinese space station is set to be in orbit…the US led International Space Station will be winding down operations.  Since 2011, Congress has banned any contact between NASA and China’s space program…because of national security concerns.

The South China Morning Post reports other scientists from around the world were invited to Thursday’s launch from Inner Mongolia.  That included researchers from Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and Pakistan….as well as the European Space Agency.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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