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China`s Shenzhou 10 docks with Tiangong-1 space station

Last Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 16:30

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: China’s manned space capsule Shenzhou 10 has successful docked with the Tiangong-1 space lab Thursday.

Three Chinese astronauts, Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and the second woman Chinese woman astronaut Wang Yaping have entered the experimental space lab and will be staying there for the next one week.

The Shenzhou-10 became the fifth spacecraft that docked with the Tiangong-1, which was sent into space in 2011 and entered the orbit in late May for the docking mission.

The experimental module was a prelude to China`s efforts to construct a Spacelab of its own by 2020 on the lines of erstwhile international space station `Mir`.

Meanwhile, some experts expressed their apprehensions about unknown risks as the module is orbiting the earth for over 600 days.

Some components on the Tiangong-1, which were designed to function for only two years, may not be in an optimal state, and experts worry that there could be unknown risks that the moisture and microbes left from previous missions might have grown and become hazardous, state-run Global Times daily reported.

"Those are also the risks astronauts will very likely be facing if we have a real space lab," Hu Haifeng, a designer with the China Aerospace and Technology Corporation who participated in the design of the Shenzhou-7 rocket carrier system, told the daily. This is another opportunity for China to prepare for a real space station, Hu said.

China is eyeing to join a select club of countries which have carried out more than one manned space missions. At present, the US and Russia are the other two nations to send independently maintained space stations into orbit.

The space mission is a source of huge national pride for the communist nation, reflecting its ambition to be among the world`s leading powers. This is China`s fifth manned mission and would last a fortnight compared to last year`s 13 days.

(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 15:27
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