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China takes next step toward manned space station

(People's Daily Online)

10:39, August 09, 2011

If the Long March 2F carrier rocket successfully launches and sends the Tiangong-1 space station to outer space, China will take a huge step toward the era of a manned space station.

At the end of July 2011, China's aviation rally trumpet was sounded again in the hot summer at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center of Gansu Province. On July 23, the Long March 2F carrier rocket was transported to the center successfully to meet the Tiangong-1, which had arrived there earlier, and all the technicians participating in this mission also arrived.

In the heat of August, all the Chinese people of the world and all the people from all other countries set their eyes on China, hoping to witness the new milestone of China's manned space flights.

Trying to perfect rendezvous, docking

Zhang Jianqi, former vice director of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and former vice general director of China's manned space flight engineering, said that China's manned space flight engineering was divided into three steps. The first step was to send astronauts into space.

The second step was to realize multi-person and multi-day spaceflights. In this step, the astronauts would exit the space shuttle and complete the rendezvous and docking between the shuttle and capsule. A space laboratory, which will be looked after by astronauts would also be launched. The third step is to establish a permanent space station.

This particular launch is aimed at completing the subsequent tasks of the second step and laying the foundation for the third. Zhang also said that the Tiangong 1, which is about to be launched soon, is the embryonic form of China's first space station laboratory. It weights eight tons and its designed life is two years.

Successfully completing the "rendezvous and docking" will be the key to achieving a strategic goal, but it is a universally acknowledged bottleneck of aviation technologies. The former general designer of the Shenzhou space shuttle Qi Faren said that many technological innovations made for the Shenzhou series, starting from the Shenzhou 8, and Shenzhou space shuttles, have become a brand-new kind of spacecraft for traveling between Earth and outer space. The most important feature of the shuttle's function for the rendezvous and docking is that the astronaut can operate it with a visual screen so they can closely follow a target spacecraft.

Making perfect preparations for launch

Reporters learned that the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center has carried out a comprehensive overhaul and quality review for the equipment on the manned space flight launch site and completed as many as 66 improvements and innovations for the testing, launch, command and monitoring systems.

The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology developed the Long March 2 carrier rocket for this mission. In order to meet the requirements of the rendezvous and docking, related experts have made about 170 technological improvements on the rocket. After the rocket arrived at the center, technicians also carried out the strictest and most careful examination work on every functional part of the rocket.

Win-win international cooperation

"China being in space I think is a great thing. The more nations that get into space, the better cooperation we will have with each," American astronaut Rex Walheim, who flew the final mission of the Atlantis space shuttle, said during an in-flight interview. "Space is one of the biggest international brotherhoods we have." In this globalization era, all countries should work together to explore the vast, boundless universe.

Zhang said that China will have its own space station in 2020. "China's space station will be an open platform. The Chinese people will be more than happy to conduct scientific experiments with foreign scientists and astronauts," he added.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:张洪宇)

Leave your comment4 comments

  1. Name

Bill O at 2011-08-1771.125.133.*
Next thing we will hear is china couquered space.
PD User at 2011-08-1364.12.116.*
China should get involve in space e`plorations,they have the capacity to. for the benefit oh man kine.
Angel Maymi at 2011-08-1364.12.116.*
its very important the chinise people get involve in space exloration for the benefits of humanity,since they have the capacity to.
Angel Maymi at 2011-08-1364.12.116.*
its very important the Chinese people get involved in space exloration for the benefits of humanity,since they have the capacity to.
  

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