China is set to launch the core cabinet of the country's first space station by spring 2021, Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program, disclosed on Friday.
Zhou, who is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, made the remarks during a group interview on the sidelines of the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft's reentry capsule handover ceremony to Shaoshan in Central China's Hunan Province—a city known across the country as the birthplace of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong on Friday.
Zhou revealed that the country has completed the research and development work for the space station core cabinet as well as that of the Long March-5B launch vehicle, and testing work has reached its final stage.
"We are planning to launch the core cabinet next spring as a starter of the construction of China's space station," Zhou announced on Friday.
Global Times learned previously that China plans to conduct 11 space flight missions that are specifically designed for space station construction in the next two years, including four manned flight missions and four cargo spaceship flights
China's space station is expected to be operational by 2022.
Chinese astronauts will carry out multiple missions outside the space station capsule and explore and experiment on new space technology that enables space missions to be more economic, Zhou told the media.