BEIJING, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - China will begin the construction of its own orbital space station in 2020, the Sina news service said on Monday, citing a top official with the country's manned spaceflight program.
Gu Yidong said that China would sent two or three space labs into orbit in 2010-2015, while the basic module of the space station is to be orbited by 2020.
The spacecrafts will "form the basic orbital complex of the Chinese space station" when docked together, he said.
According to earlier Chinese media reports, China plans to send a manned mission to the Moon by 2030 and subsequently build a lunar base to send missions to other planets in the Solar System, such as Mars. By 2050, China plans to develop and launch a research probe to space bodies outside the Solar System.
A Chinese astronaut conducted the country's first spacewalk last September, making China the third country in the world after Russia and the United States to send a man into open space.