China unveils plans for its space program
The country has published a white paper to celebrate its space achievements in 2011, including becoming the third nation to dock in space, and give a general idea as to where they want to be in five years.
From the paper, it's clear that China sees space exploration as a key part to its continuing development, revealing some rather ambitious plans for the next half decade. The Shenzhou (traslation: Heavenly Ship) program will continue, as the Tiangong-1 laboratory, which continues its orbit after docking with Shenzhou-8, will be further expanded with extra components sent up by Shenzhou-9 and -10.
Transportation systems for manned spaceflight are at the top of the list for future plans. Alongside this, China is looking to send people to the moon for the first time since 1972, as they continue with the lunar probe project. Plus extensions to media and communications networks are in hand via the launching of extra satellites to further develop the Beidou system.
If all of this is accomplished, China could be well in the running to be the forefront leader in space exploration. It's great to see a nation contrast with the rest of the world in respects to the size of investment into the program. Take a look at the CCTV news report below.