China prepares to launch the first module of a massive space station

Since the Soviet Union launched the first Salyut space station 50 years ago, humans have lived in a total of 11 such objects in low-Earth orbit. China will soon add another one to this list. With the launch of the China Space Station (CSS) core module in late April, the culmination of the country’s government project originally conceived in 1992 is finally entering the construction phase.

After the main module reaches space, China is planning at least 10 more launches of other main modules, as well as manned and cargo missions, to complete assembly of the station by the end of 2022. By this time, CSS will join the International Space Station (ISS) as the only fully operational space stations in orbit.

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