China just showed the world that it's upping its space exploration game with the introduction of the Tiangong Space Station.
After the ISS is decommissioned-likely in 2024, although there's also a chance that private companies could take over maintenance for a few years after that-Tiangong will be the only space station in orbit.
China's "Heavenly Palace" Space Station, which boasts a 17-meter-wide core module, besides the other compartments of the station, wants to replace the International Space Station when it is gone.
Three astronauts will be permanently stationed in the 60-ton orbiting lab, which will enable the crew to conduct biological and microgravity research. However, China's space agency unveiled the new core module for the station at an airshow this week, indicating that it plans to do a lot more with the station in the future. It will be central to the space station's operations, as astronauts will live there and control the entire station from inside it.
The space station is expected to be fully operational around 2022. Beijing has received 40 from 27 countries and regions, proposals that still need to be the subject of a selection, reported in October, State television CCTV.
"I'm sure over time China will be successful in developing partnerships".
The European Space Agency has also sent astronauts to China to prepare to work inside the Tiangong Space Station.
The country announced in May that the lab would be open to "all countries" to conduct science experiments.
It is set to operate for about 15 years, according to the China Academy of Space Technology, developer of the station.
Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space program, with plans to send humans to the Moon in the near future.
The asian giant will become "one of the great powers of space", but Russia, Japan and India will continue to play a "major role" and "the United States remains the space power dominant" at the present time, writes Bill Ostrove. "It will therefore be hard for one or two countries or companies to dominate the sector in the same way that the United States were during the cold War", the judge said it.