China Spacecraft to Launch Soon to Test Docking

China announced it will be launching Shenzhou 8, an unmanned spacecraft, next month. The spacecraft will attempt to dock with an experimental module, the Tiangong 1 which is currently surveying Chinese farmland using special cameras. From the Associated Press:

The 8.5-ton, box car-sized Tiangong 1 launched last month has moved into orbit 217 miles (350 kilometers) above the Earth and is surveying Chinese farmland using special cameras, Xinhua said.

It is also conducting experiments involving growing crystals in zero gravity, the report said, citing the launch center’s chief engineer, Lu Jinrong.

Following 8, two more missions, at least one of them manned, are to meet up with the module next year for further practice, with astronauts staying for up to one month.

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