An artist's impression of China's current Tiangong-2 station. Image Credit: CMSE
The new orbital platform will be China's first permanently manned space station when it launches in 2022.
Part of the Tiangong or 'Heavenly Palace' program, the station will be more ambitious than China's previous two orbital laboratories and will be the third ever modular station after Mir and the ISS.
While significantly smaller than the International Space Station, the new platform will be able to support a crew of three and will open its doors to scientific experiments from other UN countries.
ESA has already sent astronauts to China to receive training for possible future manned missions.
A full-scale replica of the new station's 55ft central module was unveiled this week at the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai city.
"I'm sure over time China will be successful developing partnerships," said space analyst Bill Ostrove.
"Many countries, and increasingly private companies and universities, have space programs, but cannot afford to build their own space station."
"The ability to put payloads and experiments on a human spaceflight platform is extremely valuable."
Source: News.com.au | Comments (3)
China, Space Station