China will start putting together its first manned space station around 2020. First, a Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket will put the station’s core module into orbit that year. Next, about four manned spaceflights will send astronauts to assemble the station. The space station is expected to be fully operational around 2022. It is set to operate for about 15 years. In 2024, it will become the world’s only space station if the United States-led International Space Station is retired that year as planned. The station will be able to carry more than 10 tons of scientific and experimental equipment. It will have 26 internal payload cabinets, 67 external hatches designed to dock with medium-sized extravehicular apparatuses and four external points for towing large instruments.

CAS news release, October 24, 2018