Xi Jinping congratulates success of space station core module launch
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday sent a message of congratulations on the successful launch of Tianhe, the core module of the country's space station.
China earlier on Thursday successfully launched Tianhe, starting a series of key launch missions that aim to complete the construction of the station by the end of next year.
On behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission (CMC), Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the CMC, extended warm congratulations and sincere greetings to all members who participated in the mission in a congratulatory message.
The construction of the space station and a state-level space lab, are key goals to fulfilling the three strategic steps in China's manned space program and an important leading project for building China's strength in science, technology and aerospace, Xi said in the message.
He noted that Thursday's launch marks that the construction of China's space station enters into the full implementation stage, which lays a solid foundation for subsequent tasks.
The Chinese president called for vigorously fostering the spirit of "Two Bombs, One Satellite" and the spirit of China's Manned Space Program and realizing self-reliance and self-improvement to strive for a complete victory in the space station construction mission and to make greater contributions for fully building a socialist modern country.
In 1992, China started its manned space program with a three-step strategy.
China witnessed Yang Liwei, as the country's first astronaut, sent into space and returned to Earth safely, in the Shenzhou-5 mission in 2003, as the giant program's first step.
The second step was developing advanced space flight techniques and technologies including extra-vehicular activity and orbital docking. China has already launched 11 manned spacecraft, one cargo spacecraft, Tiangong-1, a transitional platform to test the docking technology, and the Tiangong-2 space lab, sending 11 astronauts into space, completing the first two steps of the manned space program.
The final step is to assemble and operate a permanent manned space station. China plans to complete the construction of the space station by 2022.