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China's Heavenly Palace ready to make space history

(Shanghai Daily)

08:10, September 29, 2011


China's unmanned space module Tiangong-1 will blast off tonight from northwest China - the first stage in the country's plan to build its own permanent manned space station.

The 8.5-ton Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," will be fired into space between 9:16pm and 9:31pm, mainly to perform the country's first space-docking procedure, a key technique for the building and operation of a space station, Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program, said yesterday.

"With the launch of Tiangong, China will set off another space laboratory in 2016 and launch its first space station of 60 tons and with three capsules around 2020," Wu said at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center where the module will be sent into orbit.

The Tiangong module is due to join up with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft which will be launched on November 1, said Cui Jijun, center director and commander-in-chief for the launch.

The Tiangong-1 will descent to a lower orbit and carry out two docking procedures with the Shenzhou-8, Wu said.

Afterward, the Shenzhou-8 will return to Earth and the Tiangong-1 will rise to its original orbit to wait for the next stage of docking tests.

It will dock with another two Chinese spacecraft, including the Shenzhou-10 where an astronaut will board to make the module a space laboratory and a simple model of China's future space station, Cui said.

The module will orbit the Earth for two years before dropping into the ocean. During the orbit, three astronauts, at most, can stay in a 15-cubic-meter module to carry out medical and scientific experiments, Wu said.

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ASEAN at 2011-09-29220.255.1.*
Congratulation to China !Congratulation to all your engineers, technicians, designers, software professionals and all other Chinese people that make this possible and successful !We in ASEAN are delighted and proud that China has developed its space program to the presence stage.You are really great.
  

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