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Shenzhou-8 launch: Major step towards China's 1st space station

11-02-2011 09:47 BJT Special Report:Building Heavenly Palace |

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China has successfully launched its unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 for the country’s first space docking. It marks a major step towards the nation’s ultimate goal of building a permanent space station.

Early Tuesday morning, China’s unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 blasted off, marking the latest step toward its own manned space station.

The Commander-in-chief of China’s manned space program announced the successful launch of the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft.

Chang Wanquan, chief commander of China Manned Space Engineering Project, said, “According to the Aerospace command and Control Centre in Beijing, Shenzhou-8 has entered the targeted orbit. I declare the launch a success."

The spacecraft was sent into its designated orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, carried by an upgraded Long March-2F rocket.

The docking with Tiangong-1 is scheduled to occur in the next two days. And it will return to the Earth after two docking operations.

Rendezvous and docking exercises between the two vessels will be an important hurdle in China’s efforts to conquer the technological skills, which are required to run a full space lab that can house astronauts for long stretches. Chinese and German scientists will conduct 17 life science space experiments on the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft.

The successful launch early Tuesday morning will be followed by missions of spacecraft Shenzhou-9 and -10 in 2012, which will make it possible for China to carry out space exploration on a larger scale.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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