Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




DRAGON SPACE
Tiangong-1 Forms Cornerstone Of China's Space Odyssey
by Li Hongmei
Beijing (XNA) Sep 30, 2011


illustration only

China's first space laboratory, Tiangong-1, is slated to blast into orbit between 13:16 and 13:31 GMT Thursday, just one day prior to China's National Day on Oct.1. It will be the latest showcase of the nation's growing prowess in space, and comes while budget restraints and economic tailspin have held back the once dominant U.S. space missions.

If all goes well according to plan, this will mark China's initial success in docking, which is considered one of the sine qua nons for more prolonged exploration of space.

Tiangong1, or Heavenly Palace in Chinese, will be aboard China's Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China. The test module is designed to test docking technology with the country's Shenzhou spacecraft, which is an important step toward China's goal of orbiting a crewed station in space.

China is expected to launch three additional spacecraft at a later time to connect with Tiangong-1. The unmanned Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft are designed to attach robotically to the Tiangong 1 module in the first dockings in orbit.

If the Tiangong-1 successfully enters its low earth orbit, it will await space dockings with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, to be launched one month later, and the Shenzhou-9 and -10 spacecraft, to be launched successively for more docking tests. The module is expected to remain in orbit for two years.

Over the next two years, China will probably attempt a Tiangong mission piloted by astronauts after two unmanned trials. According to plan for China's manned space program, the Shenzhou-10 will be a manned spacecraft, possibly carrying a female Chinese who will test manual space rendezvous and docking with the Tiangong-1.

The 8.5-ton Tiangong-1, with a length of 10.4 meters and maximum diameter of 3.35 meters, will serve as an important milestone for the country's growing space program. Relevant authorities have voiced their intent to build a 60-ton manned space station by the year 2020, the size of NASA's 1970s-era Skylab.

In addition to acting as an important test bed for these space station aspirations, Tiangong-1 will also carry medical and engineering experiments into space.

But to fulfill the dream of "flying Apsaras," China has to surmount its limitations in its rocket technologies. Compared with carrier rockets that the United States and Russia have used to launch moon-landing vehicles and space station components, China's Long March rocket series is much less powerful.

For example, a carrier rocket must have a payload capacity of at least 20 tonnes to send one single part of the International Space Station into low Earth orbit.

Currently, China is the third nation to independently launch humans into orbit, after the United States and Russia. The nation's first manned mission, Shenzhou-5, was piloted by Yang Liwei in 2003. The 21-hour maiden odysssey was followed by two more manned missions in 2005 and 2008.

The U.S. says it will not test a new rocket to take people into space until 2017, and Russia has said manned missions are no longer a priority for its space program.

As expected, China's space expedition plans have stirred up baseless speculations and undue worries from some foreign countries that Tiangong-1's liftoff would possibly lead to a new wave of space race, or with space technology's dual-use of value to both civil and military communities, anything done by China in space could have spillover to the military.

To this, the Chinese side has adequate evidence to point to just the opposite. Just one thing, China is neither the first country to seek explorations in outer space, nor the country with the most advanced technology, it seems incomprehensible that China should cause concern to others.

Moreover, China, as a big and responsible country, has always bolstered exchanges and cooperation with other countries to contribute to the exploration and peaceful use of space.

In actuality, China has carried out comprehensive cooperation and exchanges with countries such as Russia and Germany, as well as with the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), since it started its manned space program in 1992.

Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program, was quoted by Xinhua as saying "China's ultimate intention for developing space technologies is to explore space resources and make use of them for mankind's well-being."

Hence, the peaceful purpose of the Chinese government's space exploration is beyond doubt. Actively exploring and peacefully using outer space are the basic principles upon which China is developing its space program and will always adhere to.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

.


Related Links
Tiangong-1 Special Report at China Daily
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





DRAGON SPACE
China to launch rockets with larger thrust says chief engineer
Jiuquan, China (XNA) Sep 30, 2011
China is working on the development of a new generation of carrier rockets featuring a larger thrust to cater to the demand of building a space station, a chief rocket engineer said Thursday. "The building of a space station requires carrier rockets with greater thrust as each capsule of the station will weigh about 20 tonnes," said Jing Muchun, chief engineer for the carrier rocket system ... read more


DRAGON SPACE
NASA Partners Uncover New Hypothesis On Crater Debris

China to launch moon-landing probe around 2013

United Launch Alliance Launches GRAIL Spacecrafts To Moon

NASA launches twin spacecraft to study Moon's core

DRAGON SPACE
SpaceX says 'reusable rocket' could help colonize Mars

Help NASA Find Life On Mars With MAPPER

Drilling into Arctic Ice

Lockheed Martin Completes Primary Structure of NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft

DRAGON SPACE
Not Because It Is Easy

World's First DNA Astronauts to Launch Into Space

Rohrabacher Demands Release of NASA's Recent On-Orbit Fuel Depot Analysis

OSU partners with NASA

DRAGON SPACE
Civilians given chance to reach for the stars

Tiangong-1 Forms Cornerstone Of China's Space Odyssey

"Heavenly Palace" China's dream home in space

Chief designer explains Chinese way of mastering space docking technology

DRAGON SPACE
Private US capsule not to dock with ISS

Crew safely returns to Earth after crash

Russia postpones next manned launch to ISS

Russia announces launch of 2 spacecraft in Oct-Nov

DRAGON SPACE
Sea Launch resumes operations after 2-year break

Ariane 5 marks fifth launch for 2011

Countdown to first Soyuz launch at Kourou under way

Ariane rocket launches satellites after strike delay

DRAGON SPACE
Doubts Over Fomalhaut b

Earth's Trapped Gas Fed the Early Atmosphere

From the Comfort of Home, Web Users May Have Found New Planets

Rocky Planets Could Have Been Born as Gas Giants

DRAGON SPACE
China cracks down on fake iPhones: report

RIM says committed to PlayBook amid price cuts

Orbiting ORS-1 Satellite System Operating Successfully

Chemistry team produces a game-changing catalyst




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement