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The competition heats up: China has completed the construction of the core module of its full size space station, now set to launch in 2018.
Tianhe-1, the first of three 20-tonne space station modules, was completed by the end of 2016 and has entered a testing phase, according to Bao Weimin of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Tianhe-1 will launch from Wenchang on a new Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket sometime in 2018, which was developed specifically to allow China to put large space station modules into low Earth orbit.
The image of the module at the link is remarkable in its resemblance to the core module of Russia’s Mir station, launched in 1986.