Na­tions ask to play part in new space lab

Many coun­tries reach out as China pre­pares to put per­ma­nent sta­tion in ser­vice in 2022

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI in Zhuhai zhaolei@chi­

Many na­tions have reached out to China, seek­ing to play a part in the coun­try’s fu­ture manned space sta­tion, a se­nior space in­dus­try of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day.

“We be­lieve there is a wide range of fields suit­able for such in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion and these prospec­tive co­op­er­a­tion projects will have huge po­ten­tial,” said Fu Zhi­heng, vice-pres­i­dent of China Great Wall In­dus­try Corp, a State-owned en­ter­prise that is the na­tion’s only au­tho­rized firm for in­ter­na­tional space col­lab­o­ra­tion.

“In fact, we are in talks with some for­eign coun­tries in this re­gard,” said Fu, who spoke with China Daily on the sidelines of the 11th China In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion and Aero­space Ex­hi­bi­tion in Zhuhai of Guang­dong prov­ince.

“My com­pany’s Manned Space Co­op­er­a­tion Cen­ter works with the China Manned Space Agency and has been push­ing for­ward with re­lated ef­forts,” he said. Fu did not name any of the na­tions in­volved.

China will start launch­ing parts of its per­ma­nent manned space sta­tion start­ing in 2018 and put the space sta­tion into ser­vice around 2022, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­ports.

It will con­sist of three parts — a core mod­ule at­tached to two space labs, each weigh­ing about 20 met­ric tons. A scaled model of the space sta­tion is on dis­play at the six-day air show that opened on Tues­day in Zhuhai.

Mean­while, the heavy-lift car­rier rocket de­vel­oped to launch the space sta­tion’s mod­ules, the Long March 5, is stand­ing at Wen­chang Satel­lite Launch Cen­ter in Hainan prov­ince wait­ing for its first trip into space.

China’s manned space sta­tion is likely to be­come the world’s only space sta­tion af­ter the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion is re­tired in 2024, Chi­nese space of­fi­cials have said.

The In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion has worked in part as an or­bit­ing lab­o­ra­tory for mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary re­search in ar­eas in­clud­ing physics, medicine and space sci­ences.

China cur­rently is con­duct-

ing some co­op­er­a­tion projects with for­eign space agen­cies, mainly con­cern­ing sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal ex­per­i­ments on­board China’s Shen­zhou XI space­craft and Tian­gong II space lab­o­ra­tory, ac­cord­ing to Fu. He did not say which agen­cies are in­volved.

Two Chi­nese as­tro­nauts are now aboard the com­bined Shen­zhou XI-Tian­gong II on a month­long mis­sion in space that started in mid-Oc­to­ber.

Fu also noted that his com­pany has re­ceived re­quests from other na­tions that hope China will help them train as­tro­nauts. He did not name the na­tions.

Yang Li­wei, deputy direc­tor of China Manned Space Agency, pre­vi­ously said that China is open to co­op­er­a­tion with other na­tions in its fu­ture manned space sta­tion.

Chi­nese sci­en­tists have de­signed a num­ber of de­vices or in­stru­ments in the planned space sta­tion that can be used for in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tive projects. They also de­vel­oped adapters to per­mit dock­ing with other na­tions’ space­ships, ac­cord­ing to Yang, China’s first as­tro­naut in space.

In ad­di­tion, he said China would be happy to help train as­tro­nauts from other coun­tries and or­ga­ni­za­tions and would also be glad to pro­vide rides to for­eign as­tro­nauts. For­eign as­tro­nauts who will have un­der­gone train­ing by Chi­nese ex­perts will be wel­cometo work in the space sta­tion, he added.

“The re­sult of in­clud­ing for­eign par­tic­i­pants in our space pro­grams is not only that these na­tions can send their peo­ple to space but also that they will be able to de­velop their own space projects,” Yang said.

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