China takes first step to building space station
Friday 30 September 2011
China launched an experimental module yesterday as it works towards developing a space station, underscoring its ambition to become a major space power.
The Tiangong-1 module shot into space from the Jiuquan launch centre near the Gobi Desert aboard a Long March 2FT1 rocket.
After moving it into orbit, China plans to launch an unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to practise docking manoeuvres with the module, possibly within the next few weeks. Two more missions are to meet up with it next year for further practice, with astronauts staying for up to one month.
The 8.5-tonne module – its name means Heavenly Palace-1 – is to stay aloft for two years, after which two other modules are to be launched for additional tests before the actual station takes off in three parts from 2020 to 2022.
The station is China's most ambitious project. It launched its first manned flight in 2003, joining Russia and the US as the only nations to launch humans into orbit. However, secrecy and the space programme's military links have inhibited co-operation with other nations' space projects.
Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK, where houses cost 11 times local salaries
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Oil slicks in South China Sea ‘not from missing jet’, officials say
Steve Irwin’s final words: Cameraman present at death opens up about deadly stingray attack for the first time
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete repeatedly throws up as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's autopsy
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK, where houses cost 11 times local salaries
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 4 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a leading digital agency bu...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Global leader in its respective ...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...