Latest News:  
Beijing   Light snow/Overcast    5 / -2   City Forecast

People's Daily Online>>Science

Tiangong-1 pronounced fit for astronauts


08:29, March 02, 2012

A leading Chinese space engineer said in Beijing yesterday that China's first unmanned space module, the Tiangong-1, is capable of accommodating astronauts, making it possible for China to carry out its first manned space docking mission ahead of schedule.

Qi Faren, the former chief designer of the Shenzhou spaceship series, said China will launch its manned Shenzhou-9 between June and August this year, and conduct a space rendezvous and docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module.

Qi said tests and observations showed that the environment and food reserves inside the Tiangong-I space lab module can sustain one astronaut living and working there for 60 days, or two astronauts for 30 days.

He said authorities have picked three astronauts for the docking, a mission that the astronauts will have to manually conduct, and they have already completed their training.

One of the three Shenzhou-9 crew members will not board the Tiangong-1 space module lab, Qi said, but will remain inside the spacecraft as a precautionary measure in case of emergency.

China launched the Tiangong-1 last September and completed the country's first-ever space docking with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft in November.

The 8.5-ton Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, is orbiting about 400 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.

Detectors on Tiangong-1 are examining space particle radiation to help scientists find ways to avoid the matter's disruption of satellites, Qi said. The space module is also set to observe factors that could influence the orbiting of spacecraft, including Earth's gravity, magnetic field and atmospheric density, to help provide more accurate forecasts of the orbit, added Qi.

The expert said that one experiment conducted onboard aims to electrolyze liquids into oxygen and hydrogen to add oxygen supply.

China will have to test many technologies in its quest to establish a manned space station by 2020. Qi said the technologies related to extravehicular activity, docking, logistics and recycling are essential for a manned space station.

China will not be able to establish a manned space station until water and oxygen recycling systems are ready for use, Qi added.


Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. CPPCC members arrive in Beijing

  2. 1st training by aerobatics team of air force in 2012

  3. Heavy drought hits Fumin county in Kunming

  4. Chinese architect wins 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Most Popular


  1. Political dialogue is right solution to Syrian crisis
  2. West's pressure no sway on China's defense budget
  3. Manila returns to usual games of cat and mouse
  4. How should China cope with US return to Asia?
  5. China-US relations have become irreversible
  6. Safe food not just for champions and govt officials
  7. Questions facing NATO's strategic transformation
  8. US, DPRK talks offer window into new leadership
  9. Chinese people's feelings cannot be hurt
  10. US far from being model of social wealth distribution

What's happening in China

Starbucks China: Brewing up a success coffee story

  1. Regular direct Chengdu-Bombay flight in May
  2. Leakage from website poses threat to netizens
  3. Tianjin to put 1,000 electric buses into service
  4. Chinese fossils bear evidence of Jurassic-era fleas
  5. China Southern orders 10 B777 jets

PD Online Data

  1. Spring Festival
  2. Chinese ethnic odyssey
  3. Yangge in Shaanxi
  4. Gaoqiao in Northern China
  5. The drum dance in Ansai