China To Launch Shenzhou-10 Spacecraft Later This Year

China’s Shenzhou-10 spacecraft will be launched sometime between June and August, the China National Space Administration announced.

AsianScientist (Mar. 4, 2013) – China’s Shenzhou-10 spacecraft will be launched sometime between June and August, said a spokesperson for the China National Space Administration in a statement released Thursday.

Three Chinese astronauts will board the Shenzhou-10, which is expected to achieve space rendezvous and docking missions with the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module, Xinhua news agency reported.

In September 2011, China successfully launched the Tiangong-1 module from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in Northwest China. The unmanned flight onboard the Long March 2F rocket marked the first step by China to establish a manned space station that will be occupied by three persons around 2020.

Tiangong-1 later docked with the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft in November 2011, and with the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft in June 2012. The successful manual docking procedure was previously a know how only shared by the United States and Russia.

Preparations for the latest mission are underway, according to the statement. The spacecraft has been assembled and is currently being tested; all tests have been completed on its carrier rocket, a modified model of the Long March 2F; astronauts are undergoing training; and the Tiangong-1 lab module is in good condition.

According to the office of the country’s space manned program, the objectives of the new mission include further assessing the performance of the docking system, the combination’s capabilities in supporting life and work, and the ability of the astronauts to adapt to the environment in the space module.

In addition, the astronauts will also practice repairing orbiting spacecraft and other key technologies in preparation for a Chinese space station, the statement said.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Xinhua.
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