Latest News:  
Beijing   Cloudy/Foggy    15 / 9   City Forecast

Home>>Science & Education

China to launch Shenzhou-8 early Tuesday, ready for first docking


16:29, October 31, 2011

JIUQUAN, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- China will launch its unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 early Tuesday for the country's first space docking, a major step closer to the goal of building a permanent space station around 2020.

Shenzhou-8 will take off at 5:58 a.m. Tuesday, carried by a modified model of the Long March CZ-2F rocket at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, said Wu Ping, spokeswoman of China's manned space program.

The spacecraft is due to couple with Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," China's first space lab module within two days after the launch for the country's first docking. Tiangong-1 was sent into space on Sept. 29.

They will separate after flying together for 12 days but will carry out a second docking later, she added.

The mission, if successful, will make China the third nation to master the technology after the United States and Russia, paving the way for the nation to place a space station into orbit around 2020.


Fuel was injected into the modified Long March CZ-2F rocket at 10 a.m. on Monday, Wu said. Technical conditions of all systems are normal, interfaces of different systems are coordinated, ground tests are adequate, contingency plans are ready and all facilities are sound, which meet requirements for a launch, she added.

The launch vehicle is the latest updated model of the Long March-2F rocket, she said. The rocket, 58.3 meters long, has a liftoff weight of 497 tonnes and a payload capacity of 8.13 tonnes.

The target vessel Tiangong-1 completed a 180-degree turn-around to prepare itself for the upcoming docking at 7:34 p.m. Sunday under the control of the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center, said Chen Hongmin, director of the command center for the Chinese space program on Sunday.

He said the spacecraft was lowered to the 343-km-high rendezvous and docking orbit on Sunday after a series of maneuvers including orbit control and on-orbit testing during one-month orbits.

"Equipments and technical conditions of Tiangong-1 have met requirements for docking," Wu said.

【1】 【2】 【3】

More articles about Shenzhou-8


Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. 24th Tokyo Int'l Film Festival drops curtain

  2. Attention! Halloween is coming!

  3. Traditional wedding ceremony of Yao ethnic group performed in SW China

  4. Chinese Navy "Peace Ark" hospital ship arrives in Jamaica

Most Popular


  1. China's development no threat to Japan
  2. Chinese officials need to speak cautiously
  3. Why Taoism can change the world
  4. Who is shaping China's online public opinion?
  5. War in Syria: Gamble for US
  6. Ambassador: China-US relations not zero-sum game
  7. Concerns arise about credibility of public hearings
  8. China weighs social security law for foreign workers
  9. Positive factors emerge in Chinese stock market
  10. New energy layout taking shape in China

What's happening in China

China to maintain family planning policy

  1. Airbus A320 utilized in Guiyang aviation market
  2. Property loan growth rate continues to fall
  3. KFC raises prices again
  4. 29 killed in central China's coal mine blast
  5. Officials say Beijing's free Wi-Fi will be safe

PD Online Data

  1. Tangerines and oranges
  2. Dried persimmon cake
  3. Guangdong candy
  4. Tangyuan
  5. What do Chinese eat during the Spring Festival?