China astronauts set for manual space docking
BEIJING, China — A Chinese spacecraft carrying three astronauts has carried out a manual docking with an orbiting module, a first for the country as it strives to match American and Russian exploits in space.
The Shenzhou 9 capsule completed the manoeuver with the Tiangong 1 module live on national television. It follows a docking last week that was carried out by remote control from a ground base in China as stated in Walesonline.co.uk.
Officials say the more challenging manual docking will serve in the construction of a larger space station, which China aims to complete by 2020.
The Tiangong-1 is an experimental module that will stay in orbit until 2013. Before China, the United states and the Soviet Union accomplished manual docking successfully in the 1960s.
China is hoping to join the United States and Russia as the only countries to send independently maintained space stations into orbit AP reported. The technique requires great accuracy, as it involves two objects placed in the same orbit and revolving around Earth at thousands of kilometers per hour. The craft and the module need to connect very gently to avoid destroying each other.
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