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Xinhua: China to Launch Space Aircraft

Xinhua recently reported on China’s plan to launch a new space craft named “Tian Gong I” in 2011. Called the “Object Space Aircraft,” it will eventually be reconstructed into a manned space lab where astronauts can spend short periods of time. The grand plan of Chinese Manned Space Missions is divided into three steps. The first is manned space shuttles, which has already been accomplished. Step two is a space lab, which requires four key technologies. It is on going. Step three is building a space station. The four key technologies required by step two are: (1) a space walk; (2) docking; (3) replenishment of supplies; (4) creation of a life sustaining system.

Source: Xinhua, March 3, 2010