China may allow foreign astronauts aboard space station
Beijing: China on Friday said it plans to open its experimental space station to foreign astronauts to achieve peaceful use of space resources.
"The space station will offer astronauts from around the world opportunities for research and experimentation," Zhou Jianping, designer-in-chief of China`s manned space programme said.
China currently has an experimental space station Tiangong-1 and is expected to build a permanent station by 2020.
When it is fully ready, the Chinese space station is expected to rival `Mir`, the international space station manned by Russia and the US.
Two sets of Chinese astronauts, including two women, have flown to the experimental station in the recent past. The second batch of astronauts spent about a fortnight onboard the station in June.
China has helped a number of countries, including Pakistan, to launch their satellites.
"The space station will use cutting-edge technologies, such as energy and regeneration technologies," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Zhou as saying.
China is willing to exchange and cooperate with other countries in the field after the completion of the space station, in order to achieve peaceful use of space resources and mutual development, he said.
The space station has been designed to accommodate three astronauts who will work in half-year shifts during its operation period, but new capsules can be added, if required, for scientific research.
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