China space prowess benefits world
Updated: 2011-11-03 03:00
BEIJING - China's latest achievements in space exploration symbolize new gains of not only the Chinese but also the mankind.
The successful docking of Tiangong-1 space lab module and Shenzhou-8 spacecraft at early Thursday morning is another major step towards the nation's ambition of building a permanent space station.
China always expresses willingness to open its space vessels and facilities to the international science community.
Although there won't be much in economic rewards from the manned space program in near future, its potential value in advancing science and technology in longer term should not be underestimated.
There are more resources in space for humans to explore, which is an impetus for China to boost its outer space adventure, particularly after the International Space Station (ISS) was announced to retire by 2020.
If completed in around 2020 as planned, the China-made space station might replace the ISS to harbor internationally collaborative space science experiments.
China started its space project from scratch in the 1950s, when the country was still mired in poverty after years of wars. Without any precedents to follow or any foreign experience to borrow, China had to develop its own space technologies independently.
Despite extreme difficulties, China has made impressive progress over the past decades, prioritizing safety and success over speed.
China has maintained a 94.4 percent success rate for its 130 launches, above the global average of 93.7 percent. All six of the astronauts China has sent into space since 2003 have come back to earth safe and sound.
After the success of the space docking procedure, China will launch Shenzhou-9 and -10 spacecraft in 2012 to dock with Tiangong-1. At least one of the spacecraft will carry astronauts.
In the decade to come, China plans to conduct substantial space missions, which will also help the world extend frontiers to the unknown of humans.