|The graphic shows the schematic image of Chinese space station. (Xinhua/Lu Zhe)
JIUQUAN, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- China will launch the spacecraft Shenzhou-8 in early November at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest deseart area.
The unmanned spacecraft is expected to perform China's first space docking with Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, a space lab module that was launched in September from the same launch center.
The spacecraft and its carrier rocket, an upgraded Long March-2F, were transferred on Wednesday morning on a 20-meter-wide railway to the launch pad.
The launch pad is 1,500 meters away from the assembling and testing center. It took nearly two hours to complete the transfer.
Technicians completed testing on the assembling of Shenzhou-8 and the rocket after they were delivered to the launch center at the end of August, said Lu Jinrong, the launch center's chief engineer.
In the next few days, the launch center will continue testing the spacecraft and the rocket, and inject propellent before the final launch in early November, Lu said.
The assembling, testing and transferring of the spacecraft and rocket were all conducted while they were vertical.
Shenzhou-8 is capable of docking with the spacecraft Tiangong-1 in both manual and automatic modes.
The Tiangong-1 space lab module is functioning smoothly in the orbit, and all equipment and experiments are going well, according to Lu. The module is ready for the docking task, Lu said.
China to test first space docking within two days after launching Shenzhou-8
JIUQUAN, Gansu Province, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- China will conduct its first space docking test within two days after launching the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft, a spokesperson with China's manned space program said Wednesday.
China is preparing to launch the Tiangong-1 on Thursday evening as an unmanned space module awaiting space dockings with the Shenzhou-8, -9 and -10 spacecrafts one after another in the next two years. Full story
China's first space docking to go on as planned: official
JIUQUAN, Gansu, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- China's first space docking will go on as planned despite the rescheduled launch of the unmanned space module Tiangong-1 following a satellite launching failure last month, according to a space program commander.
The experimental space station will conduct the country's first-ever space docking with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, which is scheduled to be launched in November, said Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the country's manned space program. Full story
Graphics of China's space exploration
Backgrounder: China's voyage to space: from Shenzhou-1 to Tiangong-1