What Is the Importance of China's New Space Station?
Three Chinese astronauts recently arrived at the country's new space station in another step forward for the growing space power.
Here is a look at some of the space station's major goals.
What is the trip's purpose?
The three-member crew will stay for three months in the station's main living space, called a module. The module is named Tianhe, which means "Harmony of the Heavens" in Chinese. The astronauts willcarry outscience experiments and perform maintenance. They alsoplan tocomplete space walks and prepare the station to receive two other modules next year.
While China admits it arrived late to the space station game, it says its new station is modern and includes the latest space technology. Tianhe might even outlast the International Space Station (ISS), which is nearing the end of its operational lifespan.
The recent launch brought back China's crewed space program after a five-year break. China has now sent 14 astronauts into space since its first launch in 2003. It is the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to do so.
Why is it building the station?
As its economy experienced growth in the 1990s, China made a plan for space exploration. Since then, it has attempted tocarry outthis plan carefully and evenly.
China was barred from joining the ISS. It is likely, however, that China would have built its own station anywaybecause ofits goal to become a major space power.
Ji Qiming is the Assistant Director of the China Manned Space Agency. He recently told reporters that the building and operation of the space station will raise the level of Chinese technologies. He also said it will "accumulate experience for all the people."
The space program is part of an overall drive to help Chinatake oneven larger projects. China also wants to expand cooperation with Russia and other, mostly European, countries along with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
China's space program has been a large part of its national pride. It represents the country's rise from a poor nation to become the world's second-largest economy in the last 40 years.
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三名机组人员将在空间站的核心生活舱停留三个月 。该核心舱名为“天和”，在中文里意为“天地人和” 。这些宇航员将进行科学实验和维护 。他们还计划完成太空行走，并为空间站明年接收另外两个太空舱做好准备 。
虽然中国承认其在空间站竞赛中来迟，但该国表示，其新空间站是现代化的，包含了最新的航天技术 。天和号甚至可能比运行寿命已接近尾声的国际空间站（简称ISS）更长久 。
最近的发射使中国载人航天计划在中断五年后恢复 。自2003年首次发射以来，中国已将14名宇航员送上太空 。中国是继前苏联和美国之后，第三个成功将人类送上太空的国家 。
随着经济在上世纪90年代开始增长，中国制定了太空探索计划 。自那时起，中国一直试图谨慎、平衡地执行这一计划 。
中国被禁止加入国际空间站 。然而，由于中国的目标是成为重要的航天大国，因此中国无论如何都会建造自已的空间站 。
季启明是中国载人航天工程办公室主任助理 。他近日对记者表示，空间站的建设和运行将提高中国的技术水平 。他还表示，这将“为全人类积累经验” 。
这项太空计划是帮助中国承担更大项目的整体努力的一部分 。中国还希望扩大与俄罗斯和以欧洲为主的其他国家以及联合国外层空间事务办公室的合作 。
中国的太空计划是其民族自豪感的重要组成部分 。它代表着中国在过去40年里从穷国崛起为世界第二大经济体 。