Beijing — China’s space ambitions are shifting into a higher orbit. Following its successful and world-beating trip to the far side of the moon, China is preparing to build a solar power station in space, as the world’s number two economy strives to burnish its superpower credentials. With an $8bn annual budget for its space programme, second only to the US, China is seeking to compete with its rival for economic, military and technological dominance. Scientists have already started construction of an experimental base in the western Chinese city Chongqing. Initially, they plan to develop a smaller power station in the stratosphere between 2021 and 2025, a 1MW-level solar facility in space by 2030, and eventually larger generators, according to the state-backed Science and Technology Daily. Here’s what China’s been doing in space: Moon exploration The nation’s space scientists successfully landed a lunar probe on the far side of the moon on January 3, capping a series of missions an...

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