Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny/Cloudy    26 / 16   City Forecast

Home>>Science & Education

'Heavenly Palace:' China's dream home in space

(Xinhua)

21:29, September 29, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- With a length of 10.4 meters and maximum diameter of 3.35 meters, China's first space lab module is hardly the size of any palace.

But its name Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace-1," speaks for a dream home the Chinese have long envisioned in the sky. In Chinese folklore, a heavenly palace often refers to the place in outer space where deities reside.

The module, which will pave the way for a future space station, is scheduled to be launched by the Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket between 9:16 p.m. and 9:31 p.m., Beijing Time, on Thursday.

"The name 'Heavenly Palace' is very Chinese. It also echoes the previously-launched Shenzhou spacecraft and Chang'e moon orbiter," said Bai Mingsheng, vice chief engineer with space lab system of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

In Chinese, Shenzhou means magic vessel, and Chang'e was the mythical Chinese goddess who, according to legend, flew to the moon.

Bai couldn't remember who came up with the name, but "it won acclaim from the whole group of scientists."

Many experts said the name "Heavenly Palace" fits well with the concept of a rudimentary space station, and it also offers imagination to a bigger system, according to Bai.

Inside Tiangong-1, a paint scheme will help the astronauts aboard maintain their sense of direction; the module's inner walls will be in two colors, one commonly associated with the sky and one with the ground.

"In the microgravitational environment, astronauts will lose their sense of direction. The paint scheme helps astronauts build the sense of sky and ground," Bai said.

After Tiangong-1 enters its low Earth orbit, it will await space dockings with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, to be launched later this year, and the Shenzhou-9 and -10 spacecraft, to be launched successively for more docking tests in the next two years.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:张茜)

Related Reading

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name

  

Selections for you


  1. 41 coach passengers trapped in snow, NW China

  2. 2,562nd birthday of Confucius marked around China

  3. Some 30 African flamingoes introduced in Jinan zoo

  4. Japanese pupils experience happiness of reaping rice

Most Popular

Opinions

  1. China adheres to peaceful development
  2. Europe should reflect on euro's Great Leap Forward
  3. Asian countries must unite for regional security
  4. Shanghai's metro crash sends more alarms
  5. Green growth is the key
  6. Russian political transition is 'multivariate equation'
  7. Western debt crisis shows 10 contradictions
  8. The signal of Shanghai subway crash
  9. BRICS could give crucial aid to debt-laden Europe
  10. Ulterior motives lie behind 'Asia-minus-one' concept

What's happening in China

Accidents a red signal for metro expansion

  1. Railway funds drying up as debt increases
  2. Beijing is 'grayer' than ever
  3. Crunch comes for those with underground loans
  4. Foreign pilots call for better safety systems
  5. Lanzhou has worst air in nation: report

PD Online Data

  1. Challenge to the traditional view of love and marriage
  2. House means happiness? Young Chinese' home-owning dream
  3. Fighting AIDS,China is acting
  4. Worldwide Confusius Institutes
  5. Chinese Qingming Festival