China’s Space Station is Back on Track. Chinese officials shared updated plans for their ambitious space station last week (video interview) calling for 11 launches starting in 2021, with completion sometime in 2023. The station, orbiting at 340-450 km, will have an initial design lifespan of 10 years and will include three modules, with potential expansion up to six. The core module, ‘Tianhe,’ along with a crewed mission and a cargo mission, could launch in early 2021 on LM-5B (module), LM-2F (crew), and LM-7 (cargo) vehicles. Plans had been on hold due to Long March 5B's grounding after a launch failure in 2017 (launch video), but are now back on track with last month’s successful return to flight. China is now recruiting new astronauts, including non-military scientists, for 6-month stays on the station, which has a strong science focus (previous astronaut selections were made from the Chinese air force in 1995 and 2009). This focus has led to multiple collaborations with international partners, which include: a follow up on the Gamma-Ray Burst polarimeter POLAR which flew on the Tiangong-2 space lab, experiments into the effect of microgravity on the growth of disease-causing bacteria and tumor growth caused by galactic cosmic radiation, a spectroscope to study gas in nebulae, a mid-infrared sensor platform for weather forecasting, and experimental development and production of high-efficiency multi-junction gallium arsenide solar cells. Lastly, and what we’re most excited about, the station will have a co-orbiting space telescope named 'Xuntian' with a large field of view (300x Hubble’s) that can dock with the station for upgrades and repairs.