In this ever changing world where major technological and economic powers are competing in a space race, China may be the only country by 2024 to have an active space station. The currently functional International Space Station (ISS), which is set to retire in 2024, is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.
China’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is currently developing its own version of the International Space Station. According to reports, the station will orbit the earth at an altitude of 400 km and will have a lifespan of 10 years. The space station will be made of several modules including one core module and two lab modules.
The country has started launching modules of space lab in the form of Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. While the Tiangong-2 space module was launched in September 2016, the next module, Tianhe-1, will be launched in 2018 by China’s most powerful rocket — Long March 5.
According to Xinhua News, the 20-tonne combination space station will be sent into orbit by the year 2022. ‘When the ISS retires, China's space station may be the only one left in service,’ Vice President of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Fanpei Lei, stated rather proudly.
On a lighter note, one can watch the live telecast from the ISS here before the Chinese knock-off takes its place.
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