by Su Yi fro China Radio International
Beijing (CRI) Jun 12, 2012
NASA space scientist Mark Lee says the manned docking process contains sophisticated technologies and techniques. "The Shenzhou 8 was such a great success that further facilitates the manned missions of Shenzhou 9 capsule. The manual docking requires higher technology and skills.
"The current docking mechanism adopted by NASA is dual, which means the automatic docking procedure could be switched to manual docking if necessary. But this time, China's Shenzhou 9 capsule will be docked with Tiangong 1 manually by astronauts.
"I believe that China will adopt same docking mechanism as USA in the near future."
Apart from docking, Lee says the mission could be a serious test of the astronauts' physical potential.
"The requirement for physical quality of astronauts is very tough in China, and could be one of the toughest in the world. Because China is in the rapid development stage, and there are many uncertainties in the space.
Although our science and technology is developing, the related aeronautical facilities are not perfect, and thus needs our astronauts to deal with all kinds of harsh conditions in space."
It's now been confirmed that at least one of the astronauts on Shenzhou-9 will be female.
Lee says that female astronauts may have a number of advantages.
"Different from male astronauts, female astronauts are more attentive, mature, and have more stamina. These are the merits. Gender-related differences are known to exist. Female hormone, as well as adrenaline, could be more widely distributed in a woman's body in space, which means that a woman's body might be better protected in the space than on the earth. But wider distribution of adrenaline in a man's body could lead to an elevation of blood pressure."
The Shenzhou astronauts are making final preparations behind closed doors at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's western desert, and until the launch day later this month, the public is unlikely to know their names.
Source: China Radio International
China National Space Administration
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
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