he Shenzhou-XI manned spacecraft was launched on October 17, which then connected with the Tiangong-II space lab after a two-day flight. Shenzhou-XI’s two astronauts will conduct dozens of experiments aboard the space lab over the next 30 days.
Chinese scientists told press that the Shenzhou-XI’s main mission is to verify new space technologies related to earth observation and aerospace medicine and engineering, and to test rendezvous and docking techniques for a future space station.
According to Xinhua News Agency, China plans to launch a core module for its space station around 2018 and send up laboratory cabins around 2022. When the International Space Station is retired in 2024, China may have the world’s sole space station.