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: Life on Mars? Implications of a newly discovered mineral-rich structure

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

Students see world from station crew's point of view

16 hours ago

NASA is helping students examine their home planet from space without ever leaving the ground, giving them a global perspective by going beyond a map attached to a sphere on a pedestal. The Sally Ride Earth ...

Mars deep down

18 hours ago

Scarring the southern highlands of Mars is one of the Solar System's largest impact basins: Hellas, with a diameter of 2300 km and a depth of over 7 km.

Beautiful morning conjunction

Aug 18, 2014

Sleeping late is one of the simple pleasures of summer vacation. This week, waking up early will be a pleasure, too.

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.