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A dream launch for Shenzhou X “神十”放飞太空梦

A dream launch for Shenzhou X
Updated: 2013-06-12 02:08 By Xin Dingding ( China Daily)

Shenzhou X, China's fifth manned spacecraft, atop an upgraded Long March-2F carrier rocket, blasts off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 5:38 pm on Tuesday. [Photo by Zou Hong / China Daily] See slideshow Three astronauts aboard the spacecraft for China's longest mission, paving way for space station in 2020 Shenzhou X and three astronauts blasted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, into a clear blue sky on Tuesday, bringing the nation one step closer to setting up its own space station in 2020.

Two men, mission commander Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang, and China's second female astronaut, Wang Yaping, are expected to stay in space for 15 days. They will educate young people about science and perform two space dockings, between Shenzhou X and the unmanned Tiangong-1 space module, a technically difficult procedure that brings two vessels together in high-speed orbit. The trip is the country's fifth manned space mission, 10 years after the country's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, went into space in 2003. President Xi Jinping arrived at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Tuesday to observe the launch. At a sending-off ceremony just hours before the launch, the president, who had just returned from visiting the United States, wished the three astronauts a successful journey.

"The mission's members carry the nation's space dream and represent the lofty aspirations of the Chinese people to explore space," Xi told the astronauts. "I wish you success and look forward to your triumphant return." The carrier rocket blasted off at 5:38 pm. About 20 minutes later, Shenzhou X entered its orbit. Zhang Youxia, chief commander of the manned space program, announced the lift-off was a success. Xi responded by shaking hands with mission control personnel and congratulating them. At Beijing Aerospace Control Center, Premier Li Keqiang watched a live broadcast of the launch and congratulated scientists. The mission is the first application-oriented flight of the Shenzhou spacecraft, meaning the program has moved beyond the test phase. "The past nine Shenzhou flights all served the purpose of making technical breakthroughs. The tests have been done. Now, as a product, the spacecraft is put into application," said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the manned space program. This signals that China's Earth-to-space transport system — comprised of Shenzhou spacecraft and the Long March-2F carrier rocket — has become one of the world's two operational systems ferrying astronauts and supplies between Earth and in-orbit vehicles, Zhou said. The other is Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. Zhang Bainan, chief designer of Shenzhou, said the Shenzhou X mission and following flights will improve the spacecraft's reliability and safety. It is planned that the country will launch a space lab after three spacecraft have completed docking experiments with Tiangong 1, which was launched in 2011. Space rendezvous and docking technologies are crucial for assembling a space station in orbit. Zhou said in March that a space lab will be launched within two years. Also, a freighter will be launched to conduct a fueling experiment that is vital for the building of a space station.

Space dream on course after launch
Updated: 2013-06-13 02:29 By XIN DINGDING ( China Daily)

Latest The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the Tiangong-1, a target orbiter and space module sent to space in 2011.

Part of the nose cone of the Shenzhou X spacecraft is found on Tuesday in Yulin, Shaanxi province. Ma Guanghao / For China Daily Astronauts eat sticky rice dumplings in orbit for Dragon Boat Festival China is pursuing its space dream unswervingly, President Xi Jinping said following the successful launch of the Shenzhou X spacecraft on Tuesday. The Long March 2F carrier rocket with three astronauts — commander Nie Haisheng, astronaut Zhang Xiaoguang and the second Chinese woman in space Wang Yaping — blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province at 5:38 pm on Tuesday. Xi met with representatives from organizations taking part in the mission at the center in the remote Gobi desert on Tuesday evening, and extended his congratulations and greetings. "The Shenzhou X spacecraft has been successfully launched and precisely put into orbit, which means that our country's fifth manned space mission has succeeded in the first phase," he said. "At this very moment, I am sharing the same feeling with everyone," he said. "I am very happy and excited." Xi said China is pursuing its space dream continuously by developing the space industry and turning the country into a space power. The Shenzhou X mission is of great significance for the country's efforts to consolidate and improve the rendezvous and docking technology and promote the development of a space lab and space station, he said. Xi spoke highly of those involved in the manned space program, praising them for their hard work, and urged them to exert persistent efforts and carry out all subsequent work carefully.

Astronauts aboard Shenzhou X spacecraft, (from left) Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping, send their festival regards. Wang Sijiang / For China Daily On Wednesday, the three astronauts celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival in orbit, eating traditional sticky rice dumplings known as zongzi that were prepared specially for them. It was the first time Chinese astronauts had eaten zongzi in space, according to a source with the manned space program. The source said the leaf-wrapped dumplings taken into space are small and flat, different from those people usually eat, because it makes it easier for the astronauts to store and heat them. In a video clip shown on national TV on Wednesday, Wang played with a zongzi leaf in the microgravity environment aboard the spacecraft. The astronauts also sent greetings from space at 1 pm on Wednesday, wishing a happy Dragon Boat Festival to Chinese around the world. Zhang said they were all feeling well after spending nearly a day in space. In coming days, the Shenzhou X crew will conduct two space dockings with the unmanned Tiangong-1 space module, one automatic and one manual. As they orbit the Earth, the crew will educate young people about science. Wang, the main lecturer, will teach them about motion in a microgravity environment and about the surface tension of liquids. She will also help students understand the concepts of weight and mass and Newton's Laws, giving demonstrations and interacting with students and teachers on Earth.




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