China takes lead in space race

A partial model of Chinese space station is seen on display at the Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai south China

China will start putting together its first manned space station around 2020, according to government plans. That's significantly smaller than the core section of the ISS, but the additional size does mean Tiangong-2 can support up to three astronauts.

NASA recently shared a video shot in space aboard the International Space Station that is twice the resolution of those jaw-dropping screens, but it will be a few years before anyone has the hardware necessary to appreciate it.

The space station is now home to two Russians, three Americans and one Japanese.

Engineers who previously sent high-definition (HD) cameras, 3D cameras, and a camera capable of recording 4K footage to the International Space Station, delivered the new 8K camera to the station in April aboard the 14th SpaceX cargo resupply mission through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and RED.

The space station is expected to be fully operational around 2022.

"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", said Chen Lan, analyst at GoTaikonauts.com, a website specialised in the Chinese space programme.

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The country announced in May that the lab would be open to "all countries" to conduct science experiments.

According to Bill Ostrove, on the other hand, despite the significant achievements that EU, China, Japan, and Russian Federation make, the USA will remain the most significant power in space exploration.

China's Tiangong project is a work in progress, with the first iteration, a prototype called Tiangong-1, that spectacularly fell to Earth after China's space agency lost control of it.

"Over time, I am sure that China will build successful partnerships", predicts Bill Ostrove, a specialist in space issues at Forecast International, a consulting firm, american.

"Many countries, and increasingly private companies and universities, have space programs, but can not afford to build their own space station", he said. "Despite a lot of talk of the opposite, the United States remains the most dominant power in space right now", Ostrove said.

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