Russia's space agency said China may decide to take part in building the International Space Station (ISS) worth US$95 billion.
The ISS, involving Europe, Russia, the United States, Japan, Canada and Brazil, will be completed after 2005, by which time it will weigh 418 tonnes and be one of the brightest objects in the evening sky. It is designed to serve for about a decade.
Yuri Koptev, head of Russia's space agency, said China might be part of the ambitious project.
"Today there are preliminary talks on this, and one should not rule out China's participation in this program," Kazakh television showed Koptev telling reporters on Saturday after a Russian spaceship took US space tourist Dennis Tito into orbit.
"I believe that in the next eight or 10 years space exploration will aim primarily at implementing the ISS project," he said. "Major states involved in space exploration are joining forces to achieve this."
China has no experience of manned space flights but its space industry is on the rise and it has successfully launched large satellites.
(China Daily 04/28/2001)