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Politics & Current Affairs

China to Rival International Space Station

Less than a decade after sending its first human into orbit, Beijing is working on a multi-capsule outpost in space. The project proves that power is shifting among nations with space ambitions.

What’s the Latest Development?

“China laid out plans for its future in space yesterday, unveiling details of an ambitious new space station to be built in orbit within a decade. … The space station will weigh around 60 tonnes and consist of a core module with two laboratory units for experiments, according to the state news agency, Xinhua. Officials have asked the public to suggest names and symbols for the unit and for a cargo spacecraft that will serve it. Professor Jiang Guohua, from the China Astronaut Research and Training Centre, said the facility would be designed to last for around a decade and support three astronauts.” 

What’s the Big Idea?

“The project, which one N.A.S.A. adviser describes as a ‘potent political symbol’, is the latest phase in China’s rapidly developing space programme. It is less than a decade since China put a human into orbit for the first time, and three years since its first spacewalk. … The project heralds a shift in the balance of power among spacefaring nations. In June, the US space agency, Nasa, will mothball its whole fleet of space shuttles, in a move that will leave only the Russians capable of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station.”


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