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China to invest in major space programs

By ZHAO LEI | | Updated: 2022-10-22 20:12
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Wu Yansheng, a delegate to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, speaks during an interview at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct 22, 2022. The 20th CPC National Congress concluded on Saturday. [Photo/Xinhua]

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's leading space contractor, will continue to invest in major space programs such as the manned lunar missions and the development of a super-heavy carrier rocket, said the company's chairman.

Chairman Wu Yansheng told reporters on Saturday that his company has set three goals for its future development – upgrading the existing rocket fleet and building new models with stronger carrying capacity; advancing crucial projects including crewed expeditions to the moon, establishing a lunar research outpost, returning samples from Mars and exploring asteroids; fostering innovation in scientific and technological frontiers to inject new momentum in China's space sector.

He made the remarks after attending the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China as a deputy to the congress.

By now, propellants have been pumped into the Mengtian space lab, the second lab component of China's Tiangong space station, and the prelaunch work on the Long March 5B rocket, which is tasked with transporting the lab module into space, has been proceeding well, he said, noting the launch mission is scheduled to be done around the end of this month at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province.

The Tianzhou 5 cargo craft and the Shenzhou XV crew are scheduled to arrive at the massive orbiting outpost toward the end of the year, Wu said.

Wentian, Tiangong station's first lab module, was launched on July 24 on a Long March 5B from the Wenchang center.

Tiangong is currently composed of four modules: the Tianhe core module, the Wentian lab, the Tianzhou 4 cargo ship and the Shenzhou XIV spacecraft. It is manned by three astronauts on the Shenzhou XIV mission who arrived in early June.

Once Mengtian is connected to Tiangong, the station will be T-shaped and astronauts will have 110 cubic meters of usable space.

Tiangong is expected to work in orbit for up to 15 years and will serve as a national space-based laboratory.

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