China: First successful unmanned space docking
Recently, two of China’s unmanned spacecrafts successfully docked for the first time high above the Earth. China has termed it a major technological breakthrough in its ambitious programme to establish a manned space station by 2020.
The Shenzhou-8 spacecraft coupled with the Tiangong-1 module, at a height of 343 km above Earth. The success of the docking procedure makes China the third country in the world, after the United States and Russia, to master the technique, moving the country one step closer to establishing its own space station. China plans to send a manned mission in 2012 in which a woman astronaut could take part to attempt similar docking.
Topics: Chinese space station • Docking and berthing of spacecraft • Human spaceflight • Outer space • Shenzhou • Shenzhou program • Space program of the People's Republic of China • Space station • Spacecraft • Spaceflight • Tiangong program • Tiangong-1