Crew Succesfully Completes First Manual Space Docking
The crew of Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou-9 successfully completed its first manual docking in orbit. Creating a milestone in the country’s ambitious program in building a space station. The spacecraft linked with Tiangong-1 just a week into the manned space mission following an automatic docking last Monday.
Astronaut Liu Wang described the maneuver is like threading a needle. Wang used a joystick like device to carry out the docking sequence. The docking was the main goal of the 13 day space mission which testing a docking technique that is essential in building the space station in which the country aims to build by 2020. Shenzhou-9 and Tiangong-1 first came together in a automatic docking last June 18, several hours later, crew members of the Shenzhou-9 entered Tiangong-1 module which is also a first for China.
Yesterday the two space vessels separated in its preparation for the manual docking, which will happen around noon. The successful manual docking have shown that China has completely mastered space rendezvous and docking technologies making the country fully capable in transporting humans and cargo into space, which is needed in building a space station by 2020.
China will be the third country following United States and Russia in having the technology and skills that is necessary for space rendezvous and docking. Along with the manpower and materials for an orbiting space module that has different docking methods. Rumors being heard that by 2020, the planned space station maybe the one to replace the current International Space Station after its retirement by the mid 2020.