BEIJING, Nov. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- China successfully completed the first step of building a space station when Shenzhou 8 docked with lab module Tiangong 1 on Nov. 3, 2011, but what is the significance of the project for the nation?
New world for China's space experiments
It is generally recognized among the international space exploration community that a space station can provide a platform to conduct scientific research that cannot be performed on the earth and create a relatively stable environment featuring microgravity and high vacuum, which is of strategic significance to the development of material science, biology, pharmacology and other branches of science.
Furthermore, a space station orbiting Earth is crucially important to the development of geosciences and to the exploration of outer space.
"China's planned space station will also be open to foreign scientists in order to promote global scientific progress and to push human civilization forward," said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space project.
Space research makes everyday life more convenient
Weather forecasts make traveling easier and safer, and satellite navigation helps people avoid getting lost. Space technology has already become integrated into almost every aspect of people's lives.
"How many advantages can a space laboratory bring? The fact that China's biopharmaceutical industry is far less developed than that of the West is a typical example for the answer of this question," said Hu Wenrui, a space physicist and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Hu said bio-scientific experiments in space could lead to the discovery of life-changing medicines. The benefits that the space laboratory can bring to such areas as the semiconductors, special materials, astronomy and earth observation are also countless.
China will face new space engineering challenges
The director of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center Cui Jijun said that the number and frequency of China's has changed from sporadic periods of intensive launches several years ago to more regular rounds of intensive space launches. The highly intensive launches will further test China's space flight technologies.
Qian Weiping, the general designer of the Tracking, Telemetry, Command and Communication System of China's manned space engineering said that as the space station construction tasks of China are implemented fully, the future space station administration will propose many new requirements to the Tracking, Telemetry, Command and Communication Network of manned space engineering. The new requirements will be the key subjects that should be researched and solved in the future development of the system.
In addition, in the opinion of the general designer of the Manned Spacecraft System Zhang Bainan, China also needs to make breakthroughs in the re-supply and manned space life-support technologies for its space station construction.
(Source: China Youth Daily/People's Daily Online)