China Aims to Become Global Space Giant, Says President Xi Jinping

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China Aims to Become Global Space Giant, Says President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday asked scientists to help realise China's dream of becoming a global space giant as the Communist nation marked its first Space Day.

"In establishing Space Day, we are commemorating history, passing on the spirit, and galvanising popular enthusiasm for science, exploration of the unknown and innovation, particularly among young people," Xi said.

He asked space scientists and engineers to make China a space power.

"Becoming an aerospace power has always been a dream we've been striving for," the President added.

Xi asked space scientists and engineers to "seize the strategic opportunity and keep innovating to make a greater contribution to the country's overall growth and the welfare of mankind."

He also saluted all those who have contributed to China's aerospace development during the past six decades.

"It's our next goal to reuse manned spacecraft. We want to make our space exploration cost-effective," Zhou Jianping chief engineer of China's manned space program said.

Zhou did not provide details on the project, but said his team's focus is on saving costs, giving an example from the Tiangong space lab series, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China is building its space lab which is expected to be ready by 2022 and is currently under construction. Tiangong-1 was due to be followed by Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3, but Chinese scientists managed to incorporate all tasks planned for the third generation of the lab into Tiangong-2, he said.

China's space station, will be a "green model", with a highly advanced and budget-saving facilities in flight control, power supply and waste recycling, Zhou added.

Reusable manned spacecraft are a Holy Grail of space exploration. The United States developed partially reusable manned spacecraft capable of reaching low Earth orbit. But they were all retired in 2011 due to high costs and risks, including an accident in 2003 that killed seven astronauts.

Earlier this month, US rocket developer SpaceX achieved a world first by landing one Falcon rocket on a carrier at sea. China was paying close attention to such innovation and was testing its own reusable rockets, promising a breakthrough before the end of 2020, Xinhua report said.

Two days ago China unveiled plans to land a rover in its mission to Mars around 2020 and launch 150 long range carrier rockets in the next five year for various space missions.

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