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Image of the Day: China Lanches Shenzhou 8 --A Major Stepping Stone for Its Space Station


On Tuesday, the China National Space Administration successfully launched a rocket carrying its unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft into low-earth orbit, where it is in position to rendezvous and dock with the Tiangong-1 module launched in late September, testing the procedures needed to link-up the various components of China’s planned space station.

The Long March 2F rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the remote Mongolian desert at 5:58 a.m. local time, November 1, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The launch, which was broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV), and the subsequent docking are being closely observers within the country and around the world, as the mission marks an important milestone in China’s manned space ambitions and a new frontier for the country..

“Since we have never conducted a similar test before and the system is so complicated, we have many unknowns,” said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space, in an interview with Xinhua (via Space Daily). “It is highly risky.” The margin of error in docking the two craft is no greater than 20 centimeters.

China is approaching the orbital docking issue from the opposite way that the U.S. did when astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott achieved history’s first physical link-up of two spacecraft in orbit, back in 1966.

The docking of the Shenzhou-8 to the Tiangong-1 will be umanned and automated, echoing the world’s first automated spacecraft docking by the Soviet Union in 1967.

The U.S., however, isn’t lending China any assistance on its space ventures and Russia has provided minimal support in the form of equipment such as space suits, forcing China to rely, for the most part, on their growing space-industry technologies.

“We can never count on other countries to sell their mature technologies to us, so we have to rely on our own,” Zhou told Xinhua.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is partnering with China to conduct experiments on the linked spacecraft, including exposing “plants, nematodes, bacteria and human cancer cells” to zero gravity and then parachuting these back to earth for examination.

Shenzhou 8 was naturally preceded by Shenzhou 1 through 7. All the craft are named after a nickname for China itself, “Divine Land,” (“Divine craft”) and share some of the same general design features - three modules (descent, service and orbital), solar panels, a propulsion system and autonomous controls- and are generally similar to the Russian Soyuz, but various improvements have made to each successive craft following the launch of the unmanned Shenzhou 1 in 1999.

The last Shenzhou launched prior to Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-7, launched in 2008 carrying taikonauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng. The mission saw China’s first successful space walk.

The Shenzhou-8 docking procedure seems to be on target, with the spacecraft already opening its solar panels and completing its first change of orbit on Tuesday. The craft is scheduled to conduct several more rocket burns to get it into place to dock with the Tiangong-1 200 miles above the Earth.


The Daily Galaxy via and CCTV

Image Credit: CCTV


Up goes China, down we go.

I don't understand China, they are such a great Nation; yet they have to steal ideas
from other Nations? They aren't smart enough to get it on their own or buy it? The
Chinese in space, was a hoax. You could see the wires supporting the Chinanauts
and the picture of earth came from Nasa stock or so it is rumored?

For such a great Nation, with such intelligent people, they are setting a poor example
for astronauts, who have high moral and ethical convictions. They appear to lack. I
doubt if they will succeed, this is all about show and pulling the wool over our eye's.
Why don't they join the other space faring Naitons? Instead of going it on their own?

This will tell you they don't have a valid space program and what they are sending up
now, will probably be for militarization of space with nuclear weapons, to suppress
the masses and put them in charge. Is it any wonder China is buying up all the gold,
to back their currency with gold and not hot air, like America? China is interested in
only ONE THING, China and what is best for it.

This is why China doesn't have any transparency in their space program, t
hey want to hide what they are doing in space. A space based weapons
platform, that can use a laser to shoot down Taiwan's missiles, destroy
their plane's and our's or nuclear missiles launched for
there. I don't trust these people who lie and cheat and steal from other
Nations to get ahead. If they can't be ethical in their business dealings
with other Nations, then they are not to be trusted. Didn't we learn
anything from Russia or North Korea?

Your essay is really good, personally, I like it very much. I will

always come back again, hope you can often update

What's so much complain about China?
It must be coming from Liberal/Demon-rats, looking the other way, when THAT BIG BUM LIAR, WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, a.k.a. (I did not have sexual relations with that woman),
He provided technology information to the Chinese, otherwise THIS YELLOW RICE PEOPLE would NEVER had been able to put up a rocket in orbit, to say the least !!

I came to your article from another article and am really interested in this learning about this, I feel strongly about information and love learning more on this. If possible, as you gain expertise, It is extremely helpful for me.

A space based weapons
platform, that can use a laser to shoot down Taiwan's missiles w100.

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