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Will China's next space mission be manned?
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Nov 07, 2011

The training intensity of the astronauts is proper. Currently, the astronauts have finished the common training and are busy learning theoretical knowledge and operational training for the rendezvous and docking, including the hand control rendezvous and docking training and target spacecraft unit technical training.

An interview with Huang Weifen, deputy chief director of China's astronaut program.

Reporter: When will Chinese astronauts perform the space rendezvous and docking task?

Huang Weifen: According to the manned space exploration program, China will make a technological breakthrough and fully master the manned and unmanned rendezvous and docking technology by 2012 through experimental rendezvous and docking between [the Shenzhou series of spacecraft] and Tiangong-1. Whether Shenzhou 9 will be a manned docking mission or not depends on the result of the Shenzhou 8 mission.

According to China's space exploration program, Shenzhou 10 will be a manned spacecraft that conducts rendezvous and docking with Tiangong 1. A successful manually controlled docking will be a symbol of China's real grasp of the space rendezvous and docking technology.

Reporter: How is the ground training for rendezvous and docking going?

Huang Weifen: The preliminary selection for astronauts of the rendezvous and docking mission has been completed, and the astronauts are being trained according to the plan. The key point of the training is the hand control skills of the rendezvous and docking.

For this, we specially designed and developed large equipment for the astronauts, including training simulators of the Tiangong 1, manned spacecraft and the hand control rendezvous and docking. We are trying our best to make the astronauts master the hand control skills perfectly.

The training intensity of the astronauts is proper. Currently, the astronauts have finished the common training and are busy learning theoretical knowledge and operational training for the rendezvous and docking, including the hand control rendezvous and docking training and target spacecraft unit technical training.

Compared to the training for previous Shenzhou spacecraft flight missions, the training for this flight is much more difficult and complicated. In order to meet the requirements of the mission, every astronaut needs to practice the hand control operation a thousand times per day in the normal mode and malfunction emergency mode on the ground.

Reporter: Can you tell us something about the training of female astronauts?

Huang Weifen: China's first group of astronauts has 14 male ones, including six who have participated in space missions. The second group has five male and two female astronauts. The female astronauts will possibly participate in the mission of the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft, which will be a highlight in next year's manned rendezvous and docking tasks.

The female astronauts have already completed basic training and begun professional technical training as well as that relating to rendezvous and docking tasks so the intensity of training is higher than the normal level.

The female astronauts have brought about some changes in the search and development of astronaut products, such as the improvement in space suits and urine collection vessels. Currently, the astronauts are enthusiastic about the training and in good shape.


Related Links
Shenzhou Special Report at Xinhua News
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from

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China space prowess benefits world
Beijing (XNA) Nov 04, 2011
China's latest achievements in space exploration symbolize new gains of not only the Chinese but also the mankind. The successful docking of Tiangong-1 space lab module and Shenzhou-8 spacecraft at early Thursday morning is another major step towards the nation's ambition of building a permanent space station. China always expresses willingness to open its space vessels and facilities to t ... read more

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