A space law has been included in the legislative plan of parliament and could be introduced in the next three to five years, China Space News reported, citing a presentation at an industry conference in Hunan province.
Beijing has encouraged private investors to participate in its push in a bid to commercialize some aspects of the space industry, setting up funds and opening up government launch sites for their use.
The China National Space Administration (CSNA) intends to build the research station in the region of the moon's south pole, Zhang Kejian, head of CSNA, said in a public statement, Xinhua reported. Beijing also plans to launch a Mars probe by 2020. Earlier this year, the Chinese successfully landed the uncrewed Chang'e-4 on the far side of the moon, and have also placed astronauts aboard two temporary space stations, Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. China aims to send a manned mission to the moon and build a lunar research station in the next 10 years.
Yesterday, China also made another significant announcement regarding its space program, with the country's Manned Space Engineering Office revealing that the Long March-5B rocket is scheduled to make its maiden flight in the first half of 2020, Xinhua News Agency reported. And then in 2022, its space station, Tiangong - or "Heavenly Palace" - will be launched.
It is set to replace the International Space Station - a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan - which is due to be retired in 2024.
The current Chang'e-4 moon lander carried equipment from Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
China now spends more on its civil and military space programs than do Russian Federation and Japan, and is second only to the United States. Although opaque, its 2017 budget was estimated at $8.4 billion by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.