China's first astronaut Yang Liwei has revealed that China will launch the Tiangong-2 space lab in 2016 and will finish building a space station by 2022.
Yang, who serves as vice director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, made the remarks at the international Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) which opened on Wednesday in Beijing.
China will also launch a manned spacecraft, the Shenzhou-11, and a Tianzhou-1 cargo spaceship to dock with Tiangong-2, Yang said.
Three Chinese astronauts successfully completed a manual docking between the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module in June 2012, the first such mission in China's long history of space exploration.
Yang added that as China's first generation of astronauts approach retirement age, many new astronauts will be selected, including females.