Yesterday China launched its first manned space station, named Tiangong 1.
It is mostly an experimental station for testing the technology, especially
docking maneuvers with manned craft and unmanned supply craft, and will
be followed by bigger and better equipped versions in the near future:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiangong_1
What I find most interesting is that China seems to be able to keep to its
published space program schedule quite well. According to this schedule,
a manned lunar mission should take place around 2025, followed by a per-
manently manned base on the Moon, which will be followed by a manned
mission to Mars between 2040 and 2060.
In preparation for these manned missions there will be literally dozens of
unmanned science missions, from solar observation probes to make the
risks of flares somewhat better calculable to surface exploration with ro-
bot vehicles on Moon and Mars.
Right now China's space scientists still very much "go it alone", internatio-
nal cooperation and exchange are still not fully established, but it seems
that China becomes more and more willing to "open up" - in fact, several
joint projects China was interested in recently failed to be organized be-
cause now the USA sees "national security" as more important than co-
operation in space science.