Popular Science

June 18, 2012

Another Milestone for China’s Space Program as Space Pod Docks With Orbital Lab

Share

Chinese astronauts floated into an orbiting space lab Monday, another milestone for the country’s space program that puts it on par with Russia and the U.S. An automatically controlled docking maneuver connected the Tiangong-1 space lab with a manned Shenzhou space capsule early Monday morning U.S. time.

Six days from now, the spacecraft will separate and the crew will re-dock, this time in manual mode instead of automatically. Two astronauts — known as taikonauts in China, and including China’s first female space voyager — will stay on the orbiting lab for the 13-day mission, while one will stay in the Shenzhou capsule for safety reasons.

Manned spacecraft docking with another object in space is something the U.S. first accomplished back in the Gemini program in the 1960s. But it’s worth noting that this is only China’s fourth manned spaceflight, and that its space program is not quite a decade old. China’s space ambitions include building its own space station, which apparently has piqued the interest of U.S. defense officials.

A manual docking will demonstrate China’s grasp of space rendezvous know-how, Chinese officials said. China launched the 8.5-ton space lab, named for “Heavenly Palace,” last September. An unmanned Shenzhou docked with it in November, testing procedures that led up to Monday’s manned docking. Eventually, it will serve as a component for a Chinese-built space station, which is planned to be complete by 2020.

[AP, ImagineChina]

Share





 
 

 
 

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: The heart is a lonely bounty hunter — ANALYSIS – Entertainment Weekly

Maybe we really are alone in the galaxy. The heroes and villains of Star Wars: The Force Awakens sure seem to be. The movie is unquestionably 2015’s most anticipated film, and although we’ve only seen flashes of actual fo...
by Brian Montgomery
0

 
 
 

SEE IT: Calif. house features Star Wars light display – New York Daily News

Like Hans Solo in “Return of the Jedi,” you go from seeing a big dark blur to a big light blur. A California music teacher set up the ultimate Star Wars holiday light show at his home in Newark,...
by Brian Montgomery
0

 
 
 

The New ‘Star Wars’ Movie Comes Out One Year From Today – Business Insider

Continue to Business Insider » You will be redirected in seconds. Source Article from http://www.businessinsider.com/star-wars-force-awakens-release-date-2014-12
by Brian Montgomery
0