China's space station – a new Tiangong module – will be launched in 2020, though only the core part will be put into space initially.
A model of the core part of China's space station is displayed at a space tech show in Shanghai on July 16, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
According to China Manned Space Engineering Office, the core module of China's first real space station will reach its orbit with the help of a Long March 5B rocket, which met some problems in the recent years and is being fixed.
After the core module, more parts will be launched and be assembled into a complete space station by around 2022.
Hired instead of appointed
The office also announced new leaders of China's Manned Space Engineering Project at a press conference on Tuesday. Zhou Jianping, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, was hired as the chief designer.
This put an end to the project's history of having leaders appointed. Another position called "chief expert in space science" was also filled by hiring Gu Yidong, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
According to an announcement by the office, this change is "the inevitable requirement for the project to enter a new era of application development."
Wang Zhonggui, Yang Liwei (China's first astronaut), Chen Shanguang, Zhou Weifei, Liu Jin, Deng Yibing, Tang Yihua and Zhang Bonan were hired as deputy chief designers of China's manned space exploration.