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Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng (left) and Chen Dong (right) entering the Tiangong-2 space lab on October 19, 2016. (Picture: Xinhua)

China says its first permanent space station will be ready by 2022

The last time China sent astronauts to space was in 2016

This article originally appeared on ABACUS
China’s first permanent space station will begin operation by 2022, according to the chief designer of the country’s manned space program, Xinhua reported
When completed, the station will weigh 100 tons and accommodate up to three astronauts. By comparison, the International Space Station (ISS) weighs about 460 tons and houses an international crew of six people. China has said it plans to expand its station in the future. 
The last time China sent astronauts into space was 2016, when two people spent 33 days in the Tiangong-2 space lab. Before that, the country launched the Tiangong-1 prototype station in 2011 to help astronauts and engineers practice docking missions. In an embarrassing episode, China eventually lost contact with Tiangong-1, which burnt up in an uncontrolled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere last year. 
The Trump administration is seeking to privatize the ISS by 2025, but some have cast doubt about whether it would be viable as a commercial project. China has said it welcomes foreign astronauts to work with Chinese counterparts aboard China’s space station. 

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