China Launches Spacecraft for Docking Exercise
China on November 1,2011 launched its Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft, to duck with a laboratory module in outer space and set the stage for the Building of the country’s first space station.
The spacecraft was launched, carried into orbit on a long March-2f rocket. The spacecraft was to dock with the Tiangong -1 laboratory module, which was launched on September 29.
The launch of the Tiangong -1 laboratory module and the docking exercise have been as key landmarks for China’s fast expanding space programme and crucial steps in China’s plans to become only plans to become only the third nation, after the United States and Russia, to set up a space station by 2020.
According to Xinhua news agency, senior officials from the European Space Agency and the German Aero-space Centre were also invited for the launch at the Jiuquaan centre.
The Chinese spacecraft has unprecedented collaborative space experiments under the framework of a Chinese-German science and technology cooperation.
German scientist designed bio-incubators for the experiments while the Chinese developed control equipment and apparatus connecting with the spacecraft. Shenzhou-8, with a length of nine meters and a maximum diameter of 2.8 meters, has a liftoff weight of 8.082 tonnes.