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China's space station realizes 'rendezvous, docking' of dreams, reality

By Yu Jianbin (People's Daily)

15:28, September 30, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

Realization of a scientific revolution may be still distant, but efforts to look for breakthroughs are continuing every day.

Just as children yearn for the bigger outside world, human beings always dream of leaving the cradle of the earth, expanding into space and exploring deeper and further into universe. Space exploration just represents the perfect combination of this dream and wisdom.

Carrying dreams and wisdom, China's Tiangong 1 was successfully launched into the pre-selected orbit. The Chinese people now have their first real "space home," but this is just the beginning. The launch of the Tiangong 1 is less difficult than that of the Shenzhou 8 spaceship, which will be next.

The real climax of the current test will only appear after the rendezvous and docking of the two spacecraft. This is however not a simple beginning. The successful launch of Tiangong 1 has taken China one step closer to the dream of building a space station and has inspired our imagination to the wider world. It is a necessary step for going out of the earth and enables human beings to examine the earth and themselves from a higher and broader perspective.

China is still trying to catch up with others on the road of pursuing the dream of space exploration. In 1966, two spacecraft from the United States completed the world's first rendezvous and docking in space. The Soviet Union launched the world's first space station in 1971. Following Tiangong 1's rendezvous and docking, it will still take China nearly 10 years to build a space station.

China has achieved great achievements and progress in terms of catching up with others. China's manned space program started in 1992 and will be able to build a space station and realize the dream of staying in space by about 2020. Over these 30 years, China will not only achieve great progress in space stations and related technologies but also will make breakthroughs in multiple scientific and engineering technology sectors.

The major difference between a dream and fantasy is whether it is based on the wisdom. Wisdom means we cherish a dream, but we endow it with prudence and sense. If we carefully choose a correct strategic goal and make efforts and preparations ceaselessly towards it, then a qualitative change will probably occur. For a late starter like China, maybe it is a more practical method.

That is the wisdom for realizing the "rendezvous and docking" between the dream and reality. The qualitative leap we expect is an incremental process. The qualitative change comes from the accumulation of quantitative changes. The ultimate success is based on ceaseless daily practice. The idea of dramatically changing the world in a day is not the science but scientific fiction.

Every breakthrough of China's spaceflight is based on long-term accumulation. The times are the ruler for measuring the accumulations. China started to research the Dong Fang Hong I satellite in 1958 and successfully launched it in 1970. It took China 12 years. China approved the Shenzhou Spaceship project in 1992, but the unmanned Shenzhou 1 spaceship was launched in 1999 and the manned Shenzhou 5 was launched in 2003. It took China 11 years. Without sophisticated technologies for the rendezvous and docking between the satellite and spaceship, the space station would have not been established. It is the countless accumulations and breakthroughs that make us proud of our great leaps.

Up to now, China's science and technology area has achieved many "late leaps." China's dreams including reaching outer space, using the satellite to probe the moon, making a manned submersible chamber reach a depth of 5,000 meters and others have been or are being realized one by one, and the shortcomings of China's overall technologies are being remedied. All these things will lay the foundation for another major technological revolution. In this sense, maybe the technological revolution is still far away, but the sail of dream and wisdom has already risen and the ship is sailing forward unstoppably every single day.


Leave your comment4 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2011-10-03110.174.97.*
Every Pakistani hails china"s Triumph and congratulates on their success.Infact Chinas Success is there Pakistan"s Success.Umar
PD User at 2011-10-0274.203.81.*
usman at 2011-10-0192.28.85.*
I am a Pakistani citizen and I would just like to congratulate China on successfully launching the space module. I wish the best for the relations between Pakistan and China.
Larrydu at 2011-10-0160.53.51.*
In fact Qian Xueshen wanted the first manned space flight to occur during the early 1970s. The Shuguang-1 project was designed to do just that. The dongfanghong launch in 1970 was just a step in that direction. When Deng took over, some very important projects were cancelled, including an ABM system and the Xianfeng Anti-Missile Super Gun. Also cancelled was the ICBM Early Warning Network 7010 Tracking Radar and the land-based high-power anti-missile laser program. These projects which China cancelled could"ve inspired the Reagan Star Wars program, a result of which led to the present supremacy of the US in military applications of space, and to China"s backwardness in this area.

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