China just showed the world that it's upping its space exploration game with the introduction of the Tiangong Space Station.
Aside from the Tiangong Space Station's cylindrical main module, it would also have two other modules for conducting scientific experiments.
Citing China as a threat, U.S. President Donald Trump has launched plans to create a new "Space Force" to give his country dominance over rivals in space. The Tiangong, meaning "Heavenly Palace" in English, could reportedly replace the International Space Station in 2024.
"We're excited to embrace new technology that improves our ability to engage our audiences in space station research", said David Brady, assistant program scientist for the International Space Station Program Science Office at Johnson.
China unveiled Tuesday a replica of its first large space station, a symbol of the high ambitions of the country in the space, and which is expected to be launched in 2022, with the goal of a successor to the ISS.
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The three astronauts will be able to live permanently on board of the spacecraft, with a total weight of at least 60 tons, and equipped with solar panels. It places particular satellites in orbit, for its own account (Earth observation, telecommunications, gps system Beidou) or for other countries.
"There is no doubt that China will use its station in a similar way as the ISS partners are using their outpost: research, technology and as a stepping-stone for deep-space exploration", Chen Lan, an analyst from the GoTaikonauts.com, was quoted as saying.
Institutes, universities, and public and private companies were invited to submit projects.
NASA has published the night side of Earth was taken by astronauts aboard the worldwide space station.
The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.