BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping talked with the three astronauts stationed in the country's space station core module Tianhe Wednesday morning, expecting the station to make pioneering contributions to the peaceful use of space by humanity.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, held the conversation at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center with Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, who were sent into space by the Shenzhou-12 spaceship on June 17.
Calling the construction of the space station a milestone in China's space endeavor, Xi noted that the three astronauts are the representatives of those who are striving and climbing in China's space industry in the new era.
He asked the astronauts to work closely with each other and complete the upcoming tasks.
The Shenzhou-12 mission will help test technologies related to long-term astronaut stays and health care, the recycling and life support system, the supply of space materials, extravehicular activities and operations, and in-orbit maintenance.
These technologies are essential for the construction of the space station and will lay an important foundation for the human exploration of deeper space in the future.
Xi had pointed out previously that exploring the vast universe is a common dream of all humankind.
He has also voiced the hope at multiple occasions that China wants to enhance cooperation with the international community in peaceful space exploration and development.
He noted that progress in space science and technology will benefit people around the world and China wants to use space exploration achievements to create a better future for mankind.
Based on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, peaceful utilization and win-win situation, China has actively cooperated with the world in lunar exploration, Mars exploration, satellite projects and launch services to promote the common progress and long-term sustainable development of the space industry.
As for the space station, China has pledged to make it an open platform for international cooperation.
According to the China Manned Space Agency, extensive cooperation will be carried out concerning the functional expansion of the space station, space science and applications, joint flights of Chinese and foreign astronauts, and the transformation of technological achievements.
A total of 17 countries will participate in the experiments aboard China's space station, covering aerospace medicine, life sciences and biotechnology, microgravity physics and combustion science, and astronomy.
China welcomes cooperation proposals for joint flights of Chinese and foreign astronauts, which could be realized after the construction of the space station is completed.
On May 29, China launched the cargo craft Tianzhou-2, and it successfully docked with Tianhe on May 30, delivering supplies, equipment and propellant.
On June 17, The Shenzhou-12 spaceship conducted a fast autonomous rendezvous and docking with Tianhe about 6.5 hours after the launch, forming a three-module complex with Tianzhou-2. The three astronauts then entered the Tianhe module, starting their three-month mission in the space station.
The Tianzhou-3 cargo craft and the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship will also be launched later this year to dock with Tianhe, and another three astronauts will then begin their six-month stay in orbit.
After the five launch missions this year, China plans to have six more missions, including the launch of the Wentian and Mengtian lab modules, two cargo spacecraft and two crewed spaceships, in 2022 to complete the construction of the space station.