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

Aerospace officials confident in space docking despite degree of difficulty
by Staff Writers
Jiuquan, China (XNA) Nov 01, 2011

Nearly 100 contingency plans have been prepared to address problems that may occur during the mission, Wu said, adding that all people involved in the mission are confident about a successful docking.

Aerospace officials are confident of a successful space rendezvous and docking between orbiters, despite the inherent challenges and risks, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program said at a press conference Monday.

China launch Shenzhou-8, an unmanned spacecraft, at 5:58 a.m. Tuesday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gobi desert..

The spacecraft will attempt to achieve China's first rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1, an unmanned space lab module sent into space in late September.

"We have full confidence in the successful launch of Shenzhou-8, as well as the rendezvous and docking mission," Wu said.

But she added that it is difficult and risky to link up two vehicles traveling at high speeds in orbit, with a margin of error of no more than 20 cm.

There were collisions between space vehicles in past docking attempts, and recent docking missions involving the International Space Station did not always run smoothly, Wu said.

Nearly 100 contingency plans have been prepared to address problems that may occur during the mission, Wu said, adding that all people involved in the mission are confident about a successful docking.

The automated control system and docking system are crucial to the mission, and simulated tests have been done various times on the ground, she said.

In order for the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft to enter the orbital plane shared by Tiangong-1, the launch must be carefully timed to occur around the time that Tiangong-1's orbital plane intersects the launch site, Wu said, otherwise Shenzhou would have to use more propellant to adjust.

"We aim at launching Shenzhou-8 at the 'zero launch window,'" said Wu, referring to the precise prescribed launch time. "Such precision is achievable."

Technological modifications have been made to the carrier rocket to make it compatible with the mission. The rocket features a new control system and an improved thruster, according to Wu.

"Compared with Long March-2F rockets, the Long March-2FY8 has a greater payload, features higher orbital precision and is more reliable," Wu said.

The 58.3-meter-long Long March-2FY8 rocket has a total liftoff weight of 497 metric tons and a payload of 8,130 kg.

Source: Xinhua News Agency


Related Links
Xinhua Special Report: China Launches Shenzhou-8 Spacecraft
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from

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

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

China launches unmanned Shenzhou 8 for first space docking
Beijing (AFP) Nov 1, 2011
China said it successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft on Tuesday, taking its next step towards the goal of building its first space station by 2020. The Shenzhou VIII blasted off from the Gobi desert in China's northwest, the state Xinhua news agency said, separating from its carrier rocket, a modified Long March-2F, about 200 kilometres above the earth. It is due to join with the T ... read more

Lunar Probe to search for water on Moon

Subtly Shaded Map of Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

NASA's Moon Twins Going Their Own Way

Titanium treasure found on Moon

Mars500 crew prepare to open the hatch

Opportunity Continues to Drive North

Opportunity Past 21 Miles of Driving! Will Spend Winter at Cape York

Scientists develope new way to determine when water was present on Mars and Earth

A global discussion: directions for space science research

NASA's NEEMO Mission Ending Early Due To Hurricane Rina

Explorer 1 The First US Explorer

NASA evacuates astronauts from deep-sea training

Aerospace officials confident in space docking despite degree of difficulty

China's first manual space docking hopefully 2012

China to conduct another manned space mission by 2012

China's satellite launch base upgraded ahead of Shenzhou-8 mission

Russian Progress space freighter undocks from ISS

Russia launches first supply ship for ISS after mishap

Russian space freighter leaves ISS

Station Crew Prepares For Progress Departure and New Arrivals

Vega getting ready for exploitation

MSU satellite orbits the Earth after early morning launch

NASA Launches Multi-Talented Earth-Observing Satellite

The Arianespace launcher family comes together in French Guiana

Three New Planets and a Mystery Object Discovered Outside Our Solar System

Dwarf planet sized up accurately as it blocks light of faint star

Herschel Finds Oceans of Water in Disk of Nearby Star

UH Astronomer Finds Planet in the Process of Forming

Radium likely cause of Tokyo hotspot: city office

High-quality white light produced by four-color laser source

No hands required as scientists achieve precise control of virtual flight

Google expands online bookstore to Canada

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