China to Launch Second Spacecraft in 2016
According to a statement from China’s first astronaut Yang Liwei said that the country is planning to launch the Tiangong-2 space lab in 2016 and is scheduled to finish building the space station by 2022. Yang who is the vice director for the China Manned Space Engineering Office gave the statement during the Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers that opened in Beijing.
China also plans to launch a manned spacecraft the Shenzhou-11 and Tianzhou-1 cargo to dock with Tiangong-2. China’s first generation astronauts are getting ready to retire and a new batch including female astronauts are in line to be selected. Three astronauts have already successfully completed a manual docking with the Shenzhou-9 and Tiangong-1 in June 2012 the very first attempt of China in space exploration.
Ninety astronauts coming from 19 countries are participating the Association of Space Explorers congress, in which these astronauts will visit Shenzhen, Xi’an and Tianjin for exchange activities, various meets and forums. Created in 1985 the Association of Space Explorers is a international educational and nonprofit organization with members from 35 nations.