China, the third country to put a man into space on its own, plans to launch a space station by 2020, one of its top rocket scientists said on Wednesday, prompting an official denial that left any plans unclear.
The space station -- potentially the world's second -- was planned as a "small-scale 20-tonne space workshop," the China Daily quoted Long Lehao, a leading designer of the country's Long March 3A launcher, as saying.
"It is the first time a timetable has been made public for the building of the first space station, the third and final step of the country's current manned space program," Long said.
But a space official later used the official Xinhua news agency to curtly deny any firm plans.
"China at present has not decided on developing a space station," Li Guoping, spokesman for the China National Space Administration, told Xinhua.
First, can you spot the inaccuracy?
Second, I have a feeling that China hasn't really made up its mind what direction they are really going. The news out is one day that they are going to land people on the moon and the next is that they are building a space station or and then...I'm not saying that they can't do all of them, but I suspect that they will only do some of them. The West's press' tendency to make blurbs and believe too much often makes it sound as though China is steam rolling its way through space when they've only up a few people up.