Chinese astronauts manually dock spacecraft

Jun 23, 2013

Three Chinese astronauts on the country's longest manned space mission on Sunday succeeded in manually docking their spacecraft with a module orbiting Earth, state media said.

Docking techniques are a crucial element of China's space programme, which aims to build a station orbiting the planet by 2020.

The -10—"Divine Vessel"—was piloted by mission commander Nie Haisheng, assisted by astronauts Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping, China's second woman in space, according to the Xinhua news agency.

An automated docking was already successfully completed with the Tiangong-1—"Heavenly Palace"—module two days after the spacecraft was launched on June 11 from the Gobi Desert, enabling the crew to board.

The astronauts—who will carry out medical and experiments as part of the mission—manually separated the Shenzhou-10 on Sunday morning in order to perform the new manoeuvre.

They will spend 15 days in orbit as part of a multi-billion-dollar space programme seen by Beijing as a symbol of its growing global stature and technical expertise.

China first sent a human into space in 2003 and its capabilities still lag behind the United States and Russia.

It carried out its first docking using an unmanned spacecraft in November 2011, and completed a manual docking last year.

Explore further: Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China astronauts enter space module (Update)

Jun 13, 2013

Three Chinese astronauts Thursday entered a space module after carrying out a successful docking manoeuvre, state media said, two days after the launch of the country's longest manned space mission.

China to launch manned space mission in June

Jun 03, 2013

China will launch three astronauts into space this month to dock with an experimental space-module, state-media said Monday, marking the latest step towards the country's aim of building a space station.

China to launch manned spacecraft in June

Jun 09, 2012

China will launch a spacecraft this month to conduct its first manned space docking, state media said Saturday, the latest step in a plan aimed at giving the country a permanent space station by 2020.

China's Hu praises astronauts for space advance

Jun 26, 2012

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday told the three astronauts aboard a space capsule they had pushed forward China's space programme, after they carried out the country's first manual docking.

Recommended for you

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

15 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

Hot explosions on the cool sun

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The Sun is more spirited than previously thought. Apart from the solar eruptions, huge bursts of particles and radiation from the outer atmosphere of our star, also the cooler layer right below ...

Europe secures new generation of weather satellites

21 hours ago

Contracts were signed today to build three pairs of MetOp Second Generation satellites, ensuring the continuity of essential information for global weather forecasting and climate monitoring for decades to ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Judgeking
not rated yet Jun 24, 2013
Full steam ahead China! Thank you for forwarding our human presence in space! Please start working on a proper rocket engine, like nuclear thrust, the west has too many hippies for us to get it done.