"China's capabilities in space launch and exploration promise to grow in the future," U.S. expert Simon said, noting that "this could be an area for fertile cooperation."
BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, impressing experts from several countries who have called it another "key step" forward in China's exploration in space.
Three Chinese astronauts aboard the Shenzhou-13 spaceship will stay in orbit for six months during the country's longest-ever crewed mission for space station construction.
"China's success in the field of space continues to be impressive," Denis Simon, executive director of the Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law, told Xinhua. "It is now well on its way to being a leader in space exploration."
With the current mission, China has taken another key step towards constructing a Chinese space station, he said.
"That station will become steadily more important as the existing ISS (The International Space Station) heads towards the retirement," said Simon, who is also the former executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University.
"The mission is yet another major milestone as China expands the scope, duration and complexity of its crewed and robotic space endeavors," said an article carried Friday by SpaceNews.
Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, said China's longest mission is "quite impressive when you consider how early it is in their human spaceflight regimen," according to a CNN report on Saturday.
"In the past, the Chinese put up a crewed flight only once every two to three years. Now, they're sending them up every few months," Cheng said, adding that "if the Chinese maintain this pace ... it reflects a major shift in the mission tempo for their human spaceflight efforts."
Pui Jeng Leong, a media veteran in Brunei, told Xinhua that the successive successful launches of Shenzhou-12 and -13 in four months symbolized that China's aerospace industry has entered an age with Chinese astronauts' long-term stay in a space station, which once again demonstrated that China's aerospace technology has reached a leading level in the world.
This mission will continue to testify the key technologies of space station building and lay a solid foundation for more launches of crewed spaceship and other space activities, he said.
"China's capabilities in space launch and exploration promise to grow in the future," U.S. expert Simon noted, saying that "this could be an area for fertile cooperation."