Great Milestone from Shenzhou 8

3 Nov


Article from CNN:


Beijing (CNN) — A pair of unmanned Chinese spacecraft successfully docked above Earth early Thursday, a key step in the country’s developing space program.

The Shenzhou-8 coupled with the 8.5-ton Tiangong-1 laboratory module, which was launched in late September, some 340 kilometers (211 miles) above Earth’s surface, state media reported.

President Hu Jintao praised the nation’s first space docking, according to Xinhua news agency.

“Breakthroughs in and acquisition of space docking technologies are vital to the three-phase development strategy of our manned space program,” Hu said in a message from France where he’s attending the G-20 summit.

China launched the unmanned craft from northwestern China on Tuesday, carrying it live on state television.

A huge cheer broke out among mission controllers when the spacecraft reached orbit and its solar panels deployed. The launch and docking is the second phase of a test of space rendezvous and docking capabilities, essential for the operation of a manned space platform.

China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003.]

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