China launches Unmanned spacecraft: Shenzhou-8
Shenzhou-8: Shenzhou-8 is the name of an unmanned spacecraft of China that was launched recently for its maiden docking mission, paving the way for its first space station by 2020 to rival Mir, the space lab being run by Russian and US astronauts.
It was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest Gobi desert . The spacecraft was sent into the designated orbit by Long March-2F rocket. Shenzhou-8 will have rendezvous with Tiangong-1, or “the Heavenly Palace” that was put into space on September 29 for the country’s first space docking.
The move, if successful, will pave way for China to operate a permanent space station around 2020 and make it the world’s third to do so after the US and Russia. Mir space lab was launched in 2001 by Russia.
Topics: Docking and berthing of spacecraft • Long March 2F • Outer space • Shenzhou • Shenzhou 8 • Shenzhou program • Space rendezvous • Space station • Spacecraft • Spaceflight • Tiangong program • Tiangong-1