BEIJING (Reuters) - China will launch its next manned rocket in the middle of this month, carrying three astronauts to an experimental space module, state media said on Monday, the latest stage of an ambitious plan to build a space station.
The Shenzhou 10 space ship and its rocket had already been moved to the launch area at a remote site in the Gobi desert, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Once in orbit, the Shenzhou 10 will link up with the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1 module, which was moved into the correct orbiting position last month.
Chinese astronauts carried out a manned docking with the module for the first time last June.
Rendezvous and docking exercises between the two vessels are an important hurdle in China's efforts to acquire the technological and logistical skills to run a full space lab that can house astronauts for long periods.
China is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers, the United States and Russia. The Tiangong 1 is a trial module, not the building block of a space station.
But this summer's mission will be the latest show of China's growing prowess in space and comes while budget restraints and shifting priorities have held back U.S. manned space launches.
It will be China's fifth manned space mission since 2003 when astronaut Yang Liwei became the country's first person in orbit.
China also plans an unmanned moon landing and deployment of a moon rover. Scientists have raised the possibility of sending a man to the moon, but not before 2020.
While Beijing insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, a Pentagon report last month highlighted China's increasing space capabilities and said Beijing was pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.
Most comments here are exemplary of today's state of ignorance among Americans. The Chinese are placing special emphasis on STEM while we encourage our kids to pursue useless hobbies as their careers. Those who deride China's space efforts are simply severely shortsighted: their current accelerating pace of development in space capabilities positions them to accomplish in 10 years what it took us over 50 years. Where do we go from there? We are already leasing their GPS satellite to coordinate our military efforts in Africa. We are committing the same mistake the Chinese dynasties committed by ridiculing supposedly "inferior" civilizations, until one day we are the ones looking up, while wondering just how we lost the race.
In the US, we have deployed 10 different prime time television shows devoted to determining who can sing, dance, and cook the best. Take that China!
Remember when we had a space program and direction ?
Now we have a totally disfunctional government, idiotic reality shows, fat,lazy kids that live in moms basement playing video games all day, no direction and no space program
"China is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers, the United States and Russia."
Wake up AMERICA... this is Bull$chit!!! They have already surpassed us. They have working manned space program and a vehicle to get into space. We are bumming rides with the Russians.
China should be able to replicate the work the Soviets did with the Mir space station during the late-'80's/early-90's far more easily than our overly-complicated ISS. Then the Moon will be their next stop.
The reality is that they are sweeping us by simply being more simple and straight forward about everything. Rather than over-engineering everything to death, they are going for simplicity, and getting results. In contrast, we have favored grandoise designs like the space shuttles and the ISS, which are engineering marvels, but so costly and difficult to operate that we stall our own forward progress just paying the bills. The shuttle program never even came close to reaching projected cost reductions over time, and in fact proved many times more expensive than original plans expected.
Say what you want, China is putting people into space, while the US has to hitch a ride with the Russians. This does not sound like "Super Power" to me
at least they are doing something besides standing around with their fingers up their butts like we are doing
Remember the glory days when the US has the capability to send people into space?
The US and Russia are using two different approaches to enter the space. It turns out the space shuttle is not so reliable and it is much more expensive than space capsule. China is obviously following Russia's direction.
I keep wishing we and the other participants in the ISS would invite China to take part
it seems that the success rate is pretty good.
US thought exclude China out of the international space station, China won't be able to send man mission into space on their own, now they on the verge of completing their own space station in about 5 yrs.
If you don't learn from history you will repeat it, The Chinese have not been pulling their puds for the last 5000 years. These are determined people and anybody who minimize their capability's is a fool . they have done what Hitler and the Soviet Union could not do, they own us and they never fired a shot, if they want to they can make the Dollar worth nothing. What we did to the Soviets was bankrupt them that's how we won the cold war . If we don't smarten up and take care of our country and get our nose out of everybody else's business we will be at the end of the line.
China wants its own spy lab
I may not like China but they have the wisdom do what is important for China, soon they will have control of space and you will have to pay them for travelling as a space tourist.
Thanks Obama, because of you, we can't get a man into space without a commie ride
While we spend our money funding Islamic Jihadists (See Syria and Libya) China spends their money on Science, engineering and space exploration
Remember when the USA was #1 in Space. America is on the downside for sure.
Our -$315 BILLION "free" trade driven yearly trade deficit with China being put to good use. If we had TARIFFS, we would be colonizing Mars by now.
I'm outraged tat our current POTUS stopped all human flights, and we have to pay Russia to get to the station. China never signed the treaty, so they can claim the moon for their own.
This POTUS is one of the most scientific and technological fools we have ever elected!
This is embarrassing that China can put men into space and we can't
When was the last time China spent trillions on war?
Get ready to learn Chinese, they will soon rule the Earth. They have many good ideas, number one is population control. Pay attention, Catholic Church.
The great thieves of the world unveil more stolen technology.
The space shuttle program was a waste. Private space exploration is the way to go.
They better be careful! If they look too far back in time, they just might discover how they transformed one of the most incredible civilizations on earth into the communistic #$%$ they are today!!
"Hi. This is the ISS. We need one mu-gu-gai-pan, one Sezhuan beef, some General Tso's chicken, and three egg rolls. No, four egg rolls."
I would be curious to know how much of the technology incorporated into the Chinese space program was stolen from the US.
Meanwhile, back in America (insert cricket chirping noise here)
“preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.”
another great step to prevent america use their bomb to kill innocent people around the world.
I wish them a safe and sucessfull mission.Good luck.
sooner, china will claim half of the moon . . . historically . . . Undisputed
The U.S. has 64 GPS Satellites, the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, Voyager 1 and 2 at the edge of our solar system, Spirit & Opportunity and Curiosity on Mars, Cassini orbiting Saturn, Juno orbiting Jupiter, and the list goes on and on...
They downloaded the plans.
We have the Kardashians and Flavor Flav… "TAKE THAT CHINA!"
我们有卡戴珊和Flavor Flav… “接招吧，中国！”
Gee, China, welcome to the 1960s
Oh no. They'll probably harass American astronauts up there
The Chinese invented rockets while Europe was still using swords and arrows. What took them so long to get to this stage?
When they land people on the moon, I'll be somewhat impressed. But now? Pffft!
how many dead chinese does it take to send a man into space?
the Pentagon is always looking to justify their existence
China should stop wasting monies on space adventures. These monies could have been better utilized for their agriculture, irrigation projects, people's welfare and to rectify pollution.