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More research after Shenzhou 7

Source: | 09-29-2008 10:26

The launch of the Shenzhou 7 has China now looking to future missions that will involve orbiter docking technology. The complicated technology is the nation's second step before the ultimate goal of building a permanent space station.

The launch of Shenzhou-7 spacecraft was just one step of the space program's second stage. China will now work on putting a space laboratory into orbit, which will be visited by humans for short periods. A fully-equipped space engineering system will be established.

Zhang Jianqi, Deputy Chief Designer of China's Manned Space Program said "After the Shenzhou-7, we will work on building the space laboratory, which is called the Tiangong-1. After that, we will launch the Shenzhou-8,9 and 10. The docking technology will first to be tested on the unmanned, and then on the manned systems. All those missions will be accomplished in the first stage of the second step."

Zhang also said the Tiangong 1 is like a minature space laboratory. It weighs the same as the Shenzhou spacecraft, which is about eight tons. The Tiangong 1 will accomplish the docking mission to the spacecraft.

Zhang Jianqi said "We will conduct four launches of the Tiangong, Shenzhou-8,9 and 10 in two years. Because the Tiangong 1 only has a two-year life span."

Zhang Jianqi said after the Shenzhou 10 finishes docking, the program will move towards the goal of building a permanent space station.

Zhang Jianqi said "We are testifying the third step, and making the proposals to conduct it. The proposals will be submitted to the central government for the final ratification. We are planning to build the space station by 2020. To achieve the goal, we have to send the core module of the station into the space, so that we could solve the problems in the docking technology."

China will start the second round of astronauts' selection for the more demanding mission that will complete orbiter docking.


 Interactive:  Be part of China's journey to space!


Editor:Xiong Qu