China to expand space industry in 10 years

Updated: 2011-11-04 15:02


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BEIJING - China's space industry will develop quickly over the next 10 years as the country pushes ahead with its space programs after its first space docking on Thursday.

Lab modules, a space station and 10 to 20 spaceships will be launched into space over the next 10 years, the Shanghai Securities News said Friday, but did not reveal its source.

The country will spend around 300 billion yuan ($47.47 billion) in manufacturing those spacecraft, according to the newspaper.

There are 20 or so space voyages being planned in China, the newspaper reported, citing Wu Ping, spokeswoman of China's manned space program. The spaceflights will shore up demand for spacecraft manufacturing and launch services.

Space infrastructure has been included as one of China's strategic new industries which the government plans to foster over the next five years.

China started its three-stage manned space program in 1992.

In the first stage the country sent the astronaut, Yang Liwei, into space as part of the Shenzhou-5 mission in 2003. It was the first time for China to send a person into space.

Also as part of the initial stage, two astronauts conducted extravehicular activities during the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008.

Now during the second stage China is focusing on space docking.

It achieved its first space docking in wee hours of Thursday when Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 connected in space.

The next significant events will be the launching of Shenzhou-9 and -10, and one of the missions will be manned.

China will complete the second stage after it establishes its own space lab around 2016, Wu said.

In the third stage, China plans to develop and launch multiple space modules, with a goal of assembling a 60-tonne manned space station in 2020.

"The successful docking means China will enter a phase of massive production of spacecraft. The space economy is about to take off,"   according to Dongxing Securities.