Two years after sending the first Chinese man on a spacewalk, China has launched the construction of its first manned space station, aiming for a 2020 completion.
A report in the Communist Party's official newspaper the People's Daily, said on Wednesday that the space station project has been officially launched and includes the development of a national space laboratory by 2016.
The space station's pilot cabin and core cabin will be developed by 2020 and the station will be assembled in orbit, said the report, quoting an unnamed official of the China Manned Space Engineering Project.
On October 1, China launched Chang'e-2, its second unmanned lunar mission, to hone in on a potential landing site for its third moon probe to be launched in 2013 when India plans to launch Chandrayaan-2. China's first moon probe was launched in 2007, a year before India's Chandrayaan-1 liftoff. Chinese officials say a manned moon mission may be launched in 2025.