SCIO press briefing on China's space laboratory mission

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Wang Zhaoyao, Director of China Manned Space Agency
Yang Baohua, Vice President of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
Zhao Guangheng, Chief Designer of the Space Utilization System
Sun Jun, Deputy Director of Beijing Aerospace Control Center

Xi Yanchun, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

April 28, 2017

Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to the press conference of the State Council Information Office.

Last night, China's Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft completed its task successfully. Today, we are delighted to invite Mr. Wang Zhaoyao, Director of China Manned Space Agency, Yang Baohua, Vice President of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Zhao Guangheng, Chief Designer of the Space Utilization System, and Sun Jun, Deputy Director of Beijing Aerospace Control Center, to brief you on the mission and then take your questions.

Now, let’s welcome Mr. Wang Zhaoyao to make an introduction.

Wang Zhaoyao:

Ladies, gentlemen and friends from the media, good morning. It’s a pleasure to meet you here today.

Last night, the Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft completed its task by successfully docking with the Tiangong 2 space lab inorbit at 7:07 p.m. and beginning the transfer of cargo. This marked the completion of the tasks set forth for China’s space lab, which include making a successful maiden flight, maintaining a stable operation and a steady orbit, refueling the space lab in orbit and achieving fruitful results, before eventually making a safe return to Earth,.

On behalf of the mission’s command center, we came here to tell you about last night’s flight and China’s space program in regard to the space lab phase. We will also take some of your questions.

The Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft is specially designed for working with China’s space station. Last night’s flight was the maiden flight of the space station’s cargo transportation system, which consists of the Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft carried atop a Long March 7 rocket.

Now, I’d like to tell you about the process of the flight.

At 7:41 p.m. on April 20, the Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft lifted off atop the Long March 7 Y2 carrier rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center and entered its designated orbit as scheduled.

At 12:23 p.m. on April 22, the Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft completed automated docking with the orbiting Tiangong 2 space lab 393 kilometers above the Earth.

At 7:07 p.m. on April 27, after preparatory works, the Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft successfully refueled the Tiangong 2 space lab in orbit, achieved a major technical breakthrough.

In the next phase, the cargo spacecraft will remain docked with the space lab as they orbit together. The cargo spacecraft will also undock and fly alone and try different approaches to improve in-orbit refueling technology. After that, the cargo spacecraft will land under control in a designated area in the South Pacific Ocean, while the space lab will remain in space for further exploration.

China’s manned space station project got the green light in September 2010. It’s divided into two phases: first, the space lab phase and then the space station. In the first phase, we aim to achieve the goals of cargo transportation and supply, astronaut medium-term space missions, and long-time support on ground. We will also conduct various experiments in space. The aim is to pave the way for the building and operation of our space station.

Since 2016, we have successfully launched the Long March 7 carrier rocket, the Tiangong 2 space lab, the Shenzhou 11 manned spacecraft and the Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft. The four flights achieved success in China’s manned space program, and laid a solid foundation for the building and long-term operation of a space station.

The year 2017 is full of important events, including the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the 25th anniversary of the founding of China’s manned space program. Therefore, the success of the space lab mission is even more important, as it showcases the nation’s strong will to achieve rejuvenation and our firm determination to become a space power.

Now, we’d like to take your questions. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you, Mr. Wang. Now the floor is open to questions. Please identify the media you represent before asking a question.


Mr. Wang, a moment ago you told us about the flight mission of Tianzhou 1. However, for you, what is the biggest specialty of this mission comparing to previous ones? And what is worthy of our attention as the mission continues? Thanks.

Wang Zhaoyao:

Compared to previous manned flight missions, the mission of Tianzhou 1 is the maiden flight of China's space station cargo transportation system. Since it is the first flight, there are several things to note: First, the mission has new features; second, the technological difficulties are great; third, the duration of the mission is long.

As for the new features, Tianzhou 1 is a brand new cargo conveyor we have developed for China’s space station. The payload ratio and the amount of propellant refueling are on a par with current international standards for space cargo transportation systems, if not being ahead of them. At the same time, we have scheduled more than 10 scientific experimental projects on the spacecraft, which help improve the efficiency of the entire mission.

Second, there are significant technical difficulties. Tianzhou 1 is designed to fully test the propellant refueling and the autonomous fast rendezvous and docking technologies. The international community regards these two experiments as involving technologies with very large technical difficulties. According to our knowledge, only Russia and the United States have developed the propellant refueling technology, but only Russia is using this technology on the international space station. It is really difficult. In addition, the current rendezvous and docking process needs two days for preparation. If the technology of autonomous fast rendezvous and docking technology succeeds, we only need 6.5 hours for rendezvous and docking between two spacecrafts. It will greatly enhance our work efficiency.

Third, the duration time is long. From the day when the space cargo ship arrived at the Wenchang Launch Site in Hainan in mid-February, to the day in the future when Tianzhou finishes its experiments, the mission will take more than half a year to accomplish. For such a long time, it poses a challenge for the organizing and command of the whole mission, as well as for the support system. Meanwhile, Tianzhou , after docking with the Tiangong 2 space lab, will orbit in tandem with it for two month. This is the longest time so far for any combination of Chinese space vehicles.

As the last manned mission before the space station is built, the mission is significant in serving as a link between past and future. In the late period of the flight, there will be a series of experiments arranged worthy of attention. For example, there's the flight of Tianzhou from one position to another for another docking with Tiangong 2, and the autonomous fast rendezvous and docking. What's more, a CubeSat will be released; an advanced navigation, guidance and control device and new domestic-made components will be tested in orbit. An active vibration isolation technology will also be tested. Those tests will be carried out one by one. Therefore, you have many projects to anticipate. Thank you.

China Daily:

I have a question for Mr. Zhao Guangheng. In this Tianzhou 1 flight mission, what payloads are arranged in the space application system? What specific experiments have been carried out? Thank you.

Zhao Guangheng:

The space application system has arranged scientific experiments and technical tests, including research on the effects of microgravity on cell proliferation and differentiation, research on key technologies of the two-phase system experimental platform, verification of key technologies for non-Newtonian gravitational experiments and verification of key technologies of active vibration isolation. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, domestic research institutes and universities in both the mainland and Hong Kong are among the 12 research teams that are participating. The research on effects of microgravity on cell proliferation and differentiation covers the effects of microgravity on the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells and the cellular structure and function. Eight studies have been carried out in the international forefront of this research area. We are looking forward to gaining deeper understanding of the rules of the proliferation and differentiation of some cells under microgravity, such as embryonic stem cells, liver stem cells, pluripotent stem cells, bone cells and osteoblasts. These results could be useful in the field of stem cell tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, human reproduction and the prevention and intervention of bone loss both on the ground and in the space. After loading into orbit, the experiment has begun its scheduled 30-day operation and is progressing smoothly. This is the first project.

The second is research on key technologies of the two-phase system experimental platform. We are mainly seeking to create a technical foundation for solving the engineering difficulties of space-efficient heat transfer, for exploring the enforcement mechanism of spacephase-change heat transfer, for verifying the key technologies of the two-phase system, for research into evaporation and condensation under a microgravity environment, for further understanding the effects of gravity on the phase-change heat transfer and mass transfer and also for the further experiments and engineering applications.

The third is the verification of key technologies for non-Newtonian gravitational experiment. This project is mainly to carry out in-orbit tests on the performance of high precision electrostatic suspension accelerometer. The accelerometer performance index has reached the international advanced level, which will provide important technical support for our country to carry out research of basic space physics, weak force measurement and gravity gradient measurement.

The fourth is the verification of key technologies of active vibration isolation. This project is mainly to make in-orbit verification of the key technology of active vibration isolation for maglev. It will be able to increase the aircraft platform-provided microgravity level one to two orders of magnitude, to meet the needs of this mission and high microgravity experiments in the future.

TASS (Russia):

China has achieved a high level of science and technology. In this case, would China like to cooperate with Russia? The second question: will Chinese astronauts stay in the space station for a long time or just a shorter period after it becomes operational?

Since China’s approval of its manned space program in 1992, we have always maintained a good relationship with Russia and established the Sino-Russia Manned Space Cooperation Joint Committee. Within this framework, China and Russia had conducted various forms of cooperation in the field of manned space flight. In the early stage,Russia gave us great support in regard to research on spaceships and spacesuit development, and some other related technologies. I’ve expressed our gratitude to Russia on different occasions. The manned space engineering program should be a good platform for international cooperation. China is willing to cooperate with different countries on the basis of mutual respect,equality and mutual benefit,openness and transparency. We would like to continue our cooperation with Russia and other countries in this field.

The second question is whether the astronauts can stay in the space station for a long time. In our plan, the astronauts should stay in the space station according to the differing need during the stage of construction. After it is finished, the astronauts will indeed stay in the space station for a long time. We have put a lot of effort into building this rare space station. It would be a pity if it had no astronauts operating there. Thank you.


Tianzhou 1 is China’s first cargo spaceship, so what is its transport capacity? What’s the significance of its orbital refueling test with Tiangong 2? Could you compare Tianzhou 1 with similar cargo spaceships recently launched by the United States and Russia? Moreover, media reports have shown cargo shipment of International Space Station is not going smoothly. Do you think China’s Tianzhou 1 could take on supply missions for the International Space Station in the future if needed?

Yang Baohua:

Tianzhou 1, an important part of building and operating China’s manned space station, provided resources and fuel to Tiangong 2 space lab this time. It will also be used to transport trash from the space station and destroy it after entering the atmosphere. Developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Tianzhou 1 has the maximum cargo capacity of 6.5 tons and weighs 13.5 tons fully loaded. Its maximum refueling capacity is 2.1 tons. That’s quite impressive.

As for the third question regarding its features compared with other cargo spaceships internationally, it has a larger cargo capacity and a higher payload ratio than its foreign counterparts. Its cargo capacity of 6.5 tons is much higher than the 2.3 tons of its Russia counterparts; its U.S. counterparts, Cygnus and Orion, can ship 2.7 tons and 3.5 tons respectively.

The retired Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) had a cargo capacity of up to 7.7 tons. However, its weight, at nearly 21 tons fully loaded, meant its payload ratio (the proportion of cargo capacity to the total weight of the spaceship) is only 0.3, much lower than Tianzhou 1’s impressive 0.48.

Another feature is that our space program has followed a modular design approach, which can serve multiple purposes. Though a late starter, China’s manned space program is developing at a high starting point. Since the very first design period, we have conceived a series of modular designs. The Tianzhou 1 we launched this time has a fully-enclosed cargo hold mainly to provide food and other materials for daily use. We have also sent some equipment and experiment payloads for the capsule for the future space station.

We also have a semi-sealed design and the cargo hold is mainly to transport some big components, like a solar wing. China’s manned space station is designed to have a life cycle of over 20 years. During such a long orbit, it may suffer malfunctions in components like the solar wing. The solar wing, due to its size, needs to be put into a semi-sealed capsule during transportation, and then gets replaced or maintained through mechanical arms in the space station under the operation of astronauts on board. Another module could be a fully-open design to transport much bigger equipment for not just maintenance of the space station, but also some big satellites and low orbit flight vehicles ready for launch. So, this is so-called modular design.

The third feature for Tianzhou 1 is that it’s both economical and practical. It is not only used for cargo shipment and refueling, but also for warehousing and carried out experiments. Besides the in-orbit refueling test, the Tianzhou 1 this time is also equipped with several dozen experiment payloads in order to meet long-term experimental tasks.

Let’s continue, to address the second question, which focuses on the significance of space refueling. We should say that the technology is very critical. A complete command of propellant in-orbit refueling marks the breakthrough in a number of key technologies, such as extravehicular activities of astronauts, docking, unmanned and manned automatic and manual space rendezvous from Shenzhou-8 to Shenzhou 11, invariably working for the construction and operation of the space station. The current technology is no exception. We have made a major breakthrough by solving the space refueling technology in our Space Lab, a key process when we move on to operate a space station. By removing the last obstacles possibly affecting the building and operation of the space station in the long run, and consolidating the foundations of the space station for smooth and lasting operation, the significance of the technology goes far beyond the issues I’ve just mentioned. The technology can be further applied to low-orbit satellites and spacecraft by providing orbital refueling. It can also operate as a refueling center and intermediate station for the exploration of deep space, which is indeed magnificent.

It is generally known that the United States failed in launching a space cargo craft when something went wrong with its rocket and Russia also was unsuccessful in refueling the International Space Station. What is fortunate, however, is that the ISS is refueled with surplus resources so it can sustain normal operations for some extra time. So, the media start to focus on our space cargo endeavors, wondering whether our space freight craft can send some necessary resources to the ISS. But the operation is difficult at present -a result of the denial of Chinese accession to the International Space Station imposed by the United States and EU countries in the beginning. Because of this, the technological standards, such as the interfaces, are yet to be unified, and that is why the docking cannot be fulfilled in the short term. However, the aerospace staff in China is willing to work on behalf of the International Space Station, because space exploration, the manned endeavor, should be a cause shared by the entire human race in peace.

Wang Zhaoyao:

The remark of Mr. Yang is very comprehensive. China is enabled by both of its technologies and competence to transport freight to the International Space Station. However, as what Mr. Yang told us, we need, specifically, to take a step further to solve problems with different interfaces, which has drawn considerable concern from the international community. In the past few years, the country has been engaged in standardizing the interfaces of its spacecraft, especially in regard to manned spaceflights. It’s like the diversity of cell phones which cannot be recharged because of unmatched outlets.

German News Agency:

I have two questions. The first one is, as you’ve completed the space lab phase, when will you launch the first manned space station? Second, it is reported that China will cooperate with Europe in space development; will you jointly construct some perennial moon space stations? Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Do you refer to the Moon Exploration Project in your second question?

German News Agency: We’ve just noticed some media mentioned China and Europe will cooperate in construction of moon space station, so can you clarify it?

Wang Zhaoyao:

After completing flight missions of the space lab phase, we will enter into the development of the space station. According to our plan, we will construct a China Manned Space Station in the period from 2019 to 2022. So, when to launch the next manned space flight depends on the construction plan. In between, several manned flights are scheduled. So that’s the general plan.

Secondly, concerning the China-Europe cooperation on a moon orbital space station in the next phase, we have conducted exchanges and cooperation with the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency and other aerospace institutions in Europe with great success. We discussed how to enhance future cooperation on manned space flight development with the European Space Agency. The moon orbital space station is one of the technological approaches under research and demonstration by Chinese and international experts. Based on our knowledge, the United States, Russia, Europe and China have all made efforts to realize manned moon exploration and moon resource development though the model of a moon orbital space station, which has received considerable appraisal. So, whether we will cooperate or not and how we will join hands should be announced after the detailed technological plan is released.

China Radio International:

As Mr. Wang just mentioned, from June of last year to now, the flight missions in the space lab phase of China manned space engineering program were all completed. Can you sum up what important achievements have been made in the phase? What kind of role do they play in the follow-up development?

Wang Zhaoyao:

From June of last year to yesterday, four planned flight missions of the space lab phase were all completed. In retrospect, we have taken note of many important achievements and successful experiences that are worth learning.

The first one is that we’ve built up a freight transport system for the space station. Many reporters just mentioned it, and it’s the prerequisite for space station construction. If we can’t resolve the problem of reliable supply, astronauts won’t have food and drink when the space station completes construction. So now, we have the achieved basic conditions for building up a space station in the future.

Second, we have realized the objective of astronauts staying in space in the medium terms. The Shenzhou 11 Spacecraft carrying astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong stayed in space for 33 days, the longest time for China’s manned space flight program. We examined the astronauts’ life, work and health status in orbit and technical problems concerning the maintenance, support and protection of the whole system. It laid a solid basis for follow-up longer flights in the future.

Third, we examined and confirmed many key technologies for space station construction as I’ve just mentioned. Take the fourth space lab mission as an example, rendezvous and docking were conducted at the orbital altitude of the future space station, 393 kilometers, rather than the spacecraft operating orbit height, which is dozens of kilometers lower. As we accomplished rendezvous and docking, cargo replenishing, propellant refueling and orbital maintenance in the orbit close to an altitude of 400 kilometers, all the technologies are key ones for space station construction.

Fourth, we conducted a large number of scientific experiments and technological tests in space. The projects Mr. Zhao has just mentioned and the ones of Tiangong 2 all took the lead in technical indices internationally. For China, manned space flight has entered a new era of application and we have a solid basis for human-involved experiments on future space stations.

Fifth, we’ve improved project capacity in conducting high-frequency launch missions. Compared with one manned space flight a year, or two a year, we can now execute four in less than one year. The missions of high frequency and intensity posed severe challenges to the organization, command and logistical guarantees. After the space station goes into long-term operation, we will operate at least three to four missions, or even more every year. The examination of the flights in this phase helps us improve the capacities of organization, command, operation and guarantee.

We can say that we’ve made breakthroughs in space station construction and operation until now. Construction of related facilities has been completed, which means we have the capability of building space stations. What are we waiting for? It’s the construction of the main body of several cabins, kernel module and experimental module. After they are developed, we can conduct orbital assembly of a space station. From this aspect, the completion of space lab stage means China’s manned space flight enters the space station era.

Beijing News:

An important characteristic of the task this time is its comparatively long duration. Particularly in September, the third rendezvous and docking will be carried out. So, my question is: What challenges will the task meet in the aspect of monitoring and control? And is there any new technological breakthrough in this regard? Thank you.

Sun Jun:

I think there are three big challenges in the aspect of monitoring and control.

First, the task is a lengthy one. The long duration means the flight plan is more complicated than previous rendezvous and docking missions, and we have to undertake more tasks to verify the key technology in the space station stage. The entire time span will be five months, including two months of combined flight and three months of independent flight. In addition, a number of orbital scientific experiments will be conducted. It should be said that, the difficulty of task organization and implementation is still relatively large.

Second, comparatively big changes also occurred in the rendezvous and docking flight plan this time. In previous rendezvous and docking tasks, including those related to manned flights, we adopted the fixed rendezvous and docking plan which could be completed within two days. According to the requirements of the future space station, and because we will not control the huge space station for orbital maneuvering and phase adjustment, the cargo spacecraft needs to have rendezvous and docking capabilities at any phase angle. The cargo spacecraft flight plan this time has underwent significant change, in which the rendezvous and docking could be conducted by adopting two-, three-, four-, and five-day plans. So, there is a dynamic change in the rendezvous and docking plan, which is a completely new challenge.

Third, for the first time we carried out the task of in-orbit propellant refueling. We successfully completed the test yesterday, despite of the fact it was a very complicated task. The whole process of propellant refueling was divided into 29 steps in five stages, and lasted a total of five days.

So, the situation creates a very high requirement for ground control. We have made a series of breakthroughs in the following aspects.

First, in terms of the task organization and management, we optimized the flight control model under conditions of long duration. In the past, we adopted the method that each individual experimental team and individual system received flight control support from the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center. This time, taking into account the long duration of the task and, at the same time, providing experiences for future long-term management and control of space stations, we made a plan combining centralized and distributed flight control modes and corresponding systems. In the future, relevant experimental units can work in the remote support center to complete the flight control task in cooperation with us.

Second, aiming at the design of dynamic rendezvous and docking, we made a breakthrough in researching and developing the key technologies involving dynamic launch window calculation, multi-day rendezvous mode design and long-cycle, high-precision orbit forecasting to solve the problems in rendezvous and docking schemes spread over several days.

Third, aiming at the requirement of propellant refueling control, we made a breakthrough in ground coordination control technology, designed the collaborative control technology scheme, researched and developed the propellant refueling ground monitoring software, fault diagnosis software and visual monitoring software.

In addition, we also organized experts in all systems to establish a professional team for propellant refueling support. We made clear the monitoring report and the key decision-making points so as to ensure our entire propellant refueling process went through smoothly and successfully. Thank you.

China Review News Agency (CRNA):

The Tianzhou 1 flight mission has been referred to as a final stage in the battle before we start construction of our space station. I'd like to ask, compared with the International Space Station (ISS), what will be the major improvements in regard to our own space station? Also, do we plan to cooperate with other countries or organizations upon completion of the space station?

Xi Yanchun:

Your first question was similar to that raised by Wen Wei Po. Is there anything you want to add, Mr. Wang?

Wang Zhaoyao:

It's fair to say that our own space station has its own unique features. For example, ours has moderate size, but with expansionary capabilities. The ISS weighs more than 200 tons and the Mir over 100 tons. Our space station will weigh more than 60 tons, and 90 tons when the weight of the spacecraft and the cargo craft are included. Considering China's demands, we think its capacity is sufficient. The space station is going to be of moderate size, but room will be left for expansion into a three-module structure.

Second, we optimized the overall design to increase construction flexibility. The design of our cargo spacecraft features three modules so that we will ship small cargoes in enclosed cargo bays, use semi-open bays for large-sized cargoes and open bays for extra-large cargoes.

Third, we have innovated the co-orbit flight mode with Chinese characteristics. In the design of the space station, we will set up a new platform to carry large optic equipment for celestial observation and research, similar to the Hubble Space Telescope. The platform can circle in the same orbit with the space station, yet able to dock with it whenever necessary. This will facilitate repairs and maintenance by astronauts working in the space station while ensuring normal working conditions.

Fourth, we are applying the latest high-tech achievements and have raised comprehensive efficiency. The ISS was designed in the late 20th Century. We are building our own for the 21st Century. Therefore, we will make best use of the latest scientific and technological achievements, information and electronic technologies among others, and apply them to our space station to ensure world-class standards for its system, parts and performance. For example, the previous space stations have no internet connection, while now internet access in space station is achievable. In short, our space station will reflect the most cutting-edge technologies.

As for current development, the research and construction of the whole space station is steadily progressing. We have resolved the key technologies and design plans. Preliminary tests are being conducted for the flight modules. At the same time, accommodation systems such as cargo transport, manned spacecraft and launch vehicles are being manufactured or designed.

International cooperation, as I mentioned just now, should be conducted with an open and cooperative attitude. These years, we have been enjoyed extensive cooperation with many countries, and organizations, including the European Space Agency, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia, etc.

We will maintain our policies and principles after our space station becomes operational. As to the modes of cooperation, joint development of equipment, carrying out space scientific experiments on our platform, sharing experiment devices and transmission of experiment results are all possible.

Last year, we signed cooperation deals with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to provide experiment resources on our space station to all countries, including developing countries. The UNOOSA highly lauded such cooperation and has been active in promoting it. The two parties are currently working on concrete details of how to conduct programs. Thank you.

Xinhua News Agency:

The achievement of targets in spacelab phase marks China’s entrance into the era of space station operation. What preparations are Chinese astronauts making for the new era? What experimental payloads will be carried in the space station? What space experiments will be conducted? Thank you.

Wang Zhaoyao:

Chinese astronauts, the core of our manned spaceflight program, are preparing themselves to meet the higher requirements of the space station era. First, they will have to stay in space for a long time. The longest duration until now has been one month. In future, it will be extended to three or six months, perhaps even longer. They have to live, work, continue training and conduct experiments there.

Second, their “technical skills” need to be improved. Astronauts have so far conducted most of the space experiments inside the spacecraft; however, when building the space station, they will have to do a lot of work outside, which is a huge challenge.

Third, we need to ensure we have enough astronauts. We have recruited two groups, but some of them will retire from active service at a certain age. So, we need to select and nurture new astronauts, equipping them with the abilities to construct and operate space stations.

Zhao Guangheng:

I would like to add something about space science and application planning.

We will conduct large-scale space scientific researches and applications on over 30 subjects in eight fields, namely space life science and biotechnology, microgravity fluid dynamics and combustion science, space materials science, basic physics in microgravity, space astronomy and astrophysics, space environment and space physics, space earth science and applications, and space applied new technology testing. We are stepping up our efforts to establish multidisciplinary experiment platforms and publicly-supported experimental platforms. We are working to be in the vanguard of space science and make a number of scientific achievements with global influence, thus ensuring great strides are made in China’s space science endeavor.

Wang Zhaoyao:

The applied experiment payloads of our manned space flight program since Shenzhou 2 weigh only one ton or so. However, now we have three capsules in the space station, which can load over ten tons for the first time, and they will be upgraded during operation. So, we have abundant space experiment and space science payloads for a large number of projects.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank all the spokespersons for their responses today. We must also thank all the aerospace science and technology workers for their hard work. Thank you all. That concludes today’s press conference.

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