19 June 2012

Chinese Crew Works in Tiangong after 1st Manned Shenzhou Docking

Craig Covault, Chinese Crew Works in Tiangong after 1st Manned Shenzhou Docking,” AmericaSpace, 19 June 2012.

The three Chinese Shenzhou 9 astronauts are transferring  about 660 lb. of supplies , about 60 “man-days” worth,  to the Tiangong (TG-1) outpost for use during their nearly two week stay. Part of that cargo will also help support the Shenzhou 10 crew expected to spend about 24 days on the facility in 2013.

The first crew docked with and entered the Tiangong one room orbiting outpost June 18, a major milestone for China’s future manned space program.

The automatic docking at 2:07 p.m. Beijing time at 213 mi. altitude formed a Shenzhou/Tiangong facility stretching 64.5 ft. with three habitable areas, the Shenzhou descent and orbital modules and the 530 cubic foot TG-1 module. …

“While piloted space flight typically lacks the scientific substance or military significance of unmanned activities, it can inspire a nation and capture the imagination of people around the world,” says Dr. Andrew Erickson, associate professor for Strategic Research at the U.S. Naval War College and a core founding member of the China Maritime Studies Institute there.  He is also an Associate in Research at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

“Beijing’s constantly-unfolding accomplishments in this field are sure to draw even more attention to its scientific and technological progress and to raise questions in other capitals as to why they are not presently able or willing to launch their own astronauts into space,” said Erickson who has also worked on Chinese issues at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, the U.S. Senate, and the White House.

For the original posting quoted here, see Andrew S. Erickson, “Making History in the Heavens: Liu Yang Becomes 1st Female Chinese Astronaut in Orbit as 3-PersonShenzhou-9 Mission Heads for Docking with Tiangong-1 Space Laboratory Module,”China Analysis from Original Sources, 16 June 2012.