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  China's Shenzhou 9 mission to Tiangong-1

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Author Topic:   China's Shenzhou 9 mission to Tiangong-1
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2012 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
China to launch Shenzhou 9 with three-person crew — including first female — for space docking

China is expected to launch its fourth crewed spaceflight in mid-June on a mission to perform the country's first crewed docking.

China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft will liftoff with three crew members — including the first female "taikonaut" — to dock with the Tiangong-1 orbiting module, according to the state-run Xinhua news service.

The spacecraft and its carrier rocket, a Long March-2F, were moved to the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Saturday (June 9), a spokesperson for the nation's crewed space program said.


Credit: Xinhua

"Shenzhou 9 will perform our country's first manned space docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module," said Zhou Jianping, the chief designer for the Shenzhou, as he accompanied the spacecraft to the launch platform.

Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, was maneuvered in early June to place it into a lower orbit for the docking. Tiangong-1 was launched in Sept. 2011. Two months later, the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft demonstrated the nation's first rendezvous and docking capabilities.

One of the two female taikonauts, Liu Yang or Wang Yaping, from the Wuhan Flight Unit, will join the Shenzhou 9 mission.


Credit: Xinhua

See here for discussion about China's Shenzhou 9 mission to Tiangong-1.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-15-2012 06:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shenzhou 9 to launch June 16, crew named

China will launch its Shenzhou 9 crewed spacecraft at 6:37 a.m. EDT (1037 GMT) on Saturday (June 16), sending the country's first female astronaut into space, officials announced on Friday.

Three astronauts, two men and one woman, will fly on the spacecraft to complete the country's first crewed space docking test, Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, said at a press conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The astronauts are Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang, the latter set to become China's first woman in space.

Shenzhou 9 crew


Credit: Xinhua News Agency

Jing, 46, was one of the three crew members on board China's third manned spaceflight, the Shenzhou 7 mission, in 2008. He will serve as commander of the Shenzhou 9 crew and become the first Chinese astronaut to travel into space twice.

Liu Wang, 43, a former pilot, was selected as an astronaut in January 1998.

Liu Yang, 33, is a major in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force. A veteran pilot with 1,680 hours of flying experience, she was the deputy head of an Air Force flight unit before being recruited as an astronaut candidate in May 2010.

"I am grateful to the motherland and the people. I feel honored to fly into the space on behalf of hundreds of millions of female Chinese citizens," Liu Yang said at a press conference held the day before her planned launch.

Shenzhou 9 mission

The main objective of the mission is the manual docking between the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong-1 module.

A manual docking will demonstrate essential rendezvous and docking techniques, and be a significant step forward in the current stage of the nation's three-phase manned space program, helping to establish a solid foundation for the future of the program, Wu said.

The mission will also mark China's first attempt to ship supplies and personnel from Earth to the orbiting module.


Credit: Xinhua News Agency

According to Wu, the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft will separate from its carrier Long March 2F rocket 9 minutes and 45 seconds after launch and keep on an "oval-shaped orbit" before attempting an automatic docking procedure with the Tiangong-1 lab.

With the completion of the automatic docking, astronauts will live and work in the Tiangong-1.

The manual docking attempt will take place several days after the automatic docking, Wu added.

The mission is part of China's preparations for the construction of a space station by 2020. Several components will be sent into space separately before being assembled into a station through a variety of docking procedures.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-16-2012 05:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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China launches first crewed space docking mission, first female taikonaut

China on Saturday (June 16) launched its fourth manned spaceflight — including the nation's first female astronaut — on a mission to perform the country's first piloted docking with a prototype space station.

The Shenzhou 9 capsule lifted off at 6:37 a.m. EDT (1037 GMT) on top of a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi desert. Flying on the spacecraft were three Chinese astronauts, or "taikonauts" — Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang.

Jing, the mission commander, previously flew on China's third spaceflight, Shenzhou 7, in 2008. Saturday's launch was the first for Liu Wang and Liu Yang, the latter making history as the country's first woman in space.


Credit: Xinhua news agency

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-17-2012 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua news agency photo release
Shenzhou 9 escape tower debris found in N. China

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-18-2012 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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China's Shenzhou 9 docks with Tiangong-1 for nation's 1st crewed space coupling

China achieved its first manned space docking on Monday (June 18), as its Shenzhou 9 crewed spacecraft and Tiangong-1 prototype space station met up in Earth orbit.

Shenzhou 9, with astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and China's first woman in space Liu Yang on board, began approaching the Tiangong-1 lab module at about midnight EDT (0400 GMT) Monday. The crewed spacecraft, flying under autonomous control, made contact with the module at 2:07 a.m. EDT (0607 GMT).

About three hours later, the Shenzhou 9 crew entered the Tiangong-1, or the "Heavenly Palace," for the first time. Commander Jing, followed by Liu Wang, floated inside the module, which has been circling the Earth without a crew since its launch in September 2011.

Liu Yang later joined her crewmates on board Tiangong-1 after initially remaining behind in the Shenzhou to be ready if an emergency arose.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-24-2012 12:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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China achieves first manual space docking

China achieved its first-ever manually controlled space docking on Sunday (June 24), when its Shenzhou 9 piloted spacecraft and unmanned Tiangong-1 lab module connected together in Earth orbit. The docking moved the country a step forward in its plans to establish a space station within the decade.

The docking demonstration was the second orbital link-up for China's Shenzhou 9, which first arrived at Tiangong-1 under automated control on June 18. The capsule's crew, Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and China's first woman in space Liu Yang, lived and worked aboard the "Heavenly Palace" for six days before leaving to perform the manual docking at 11:15 p.m. EDT (0315 GMT) on Saturday (June 23).

Undocking under autonomous control, Shenzhou 9 backed away from the Tiangong-1 module to a distance of about 1,300 feet (400 meters). Liu Wang took over control of the reapproaching craft when the two were about 460 feet (140 meters) apart.

Assisted by his crewmates, Liu reconnected Shenzhou 9 with Tiangong-1 at 12:48 a.m. EDT (0448 GMT) Sunday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-28-2012 01:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shenzhou 9 separates from Tiangong-1, returning to Earth Thursday night

China's fourth manned spaceflight, and the first to accomplish crewed and manual dockings, will return to Earth on Thursday (June 28) at about 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT June 29).

Liu Wang, assisted by his crewmates Jing Haipeng and China's first woman in space Liu Yang, separated their Shenzhou 9 capsule from the Tiangong-1 module on Wednesday (June 27) at around 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT June 28). It was the first time a Chinese spacecraft was undocked under manual control.

During their nearly 10-day stay aboard the Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," all the mission's planned medical and science experiments were completed and produced valuable data, said Chen Shanguang, chief commander of the mission's astronaut system.

"[This] data will help us improve technologies for astronauts' future, long-term stays in a space station," the state-run Xinhua news service quoted Chen as saying.

With Shenzhou 9's departure, the Tiangong-1 prototype space station will be returned to its previous higher orbit to wait for another visiting spacecraft.

The lab module was designed to operate for two years and host six dockings. It has been in space for 272 days and was the target for four docking between the Shenzhou 8 and Shenzhou 9 missions.

"Based on current conditions, the service of the Tiangong-1 can be extended," said the chief commander of the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft He Yu. "It has consumed less than one-fourth of its fuel and no back up systems have been used."

If the systems were improved and its operation was under careful monitoring and control, the service could be much longer, He added.

"If Tiangong-1 was in perfect shape, it could work side by side with the Tiangong-2, which will be launched in the future," he said.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-29-2012 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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China's Shenzhou 9 astronauts land safely after history-making mission

Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth Thursday evening (June 28), ending a nearly 13-day mission that advanced China's plans for a space station.

The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, with Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and China's first woman in space Liu Yang aboard, landed at 10:04 p.m. EDT (0204 GMT June 29) in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China.

See here for discussion about China's Shenzhou 9 mission to Tiangong-1.

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