|Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, speaks during a press conference in Jiuquan of northwest China's Gansu Province, Oct. 31, 2011. China's unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 is scheduled to be launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 5:58 a.m. Tuesday. Shenzhou-8 is expected to dock with the experimental space module Tiangong-1 which was put into orbit on Sept. 29. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
JIUQUAN, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and German scientists will conduct 17 life science space experiments on the Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou-8, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program said here Monday.
"Chinese and German scientists will conduct 17 research programs aboard Shenzhou-8," spokeswoman Wu Ping said at a press briefing at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gobi Desert.
The unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft is scheduled to be launched at 5:58 a.m. Tuesday at the center and will dock with China's first space lab module, Tiangong-1, Wu said.
"Among the research programs, 10 will be dominated by China and six by Germany, and the two sides will jointly carry out one program," Wu said.
Zhao Liping, one lead designer for the Shenzhou-8 space application system, said the Sino-German joint program is research on an enclosed space ecosystem.
All the 17 experiments will be conducted in devices jointly provided by China and Germany, according to an agreement between the China Manned Space Program office and the German Aerospace Center in May 2008.
German scientists designed bio-incubators for the experiments while their Chinese counterparts are in charge of the development of control equipment and apparatus connecting with the spacecraft, Wu said.
"It is the first time for China's manned space program to carry out international cooperation in the field of space life science," Wu said.
"The experiments are of great significance in promoting the study and development of microgravity science and space life science," she said.
Zhao said the cooperation with global experts would help Chinese astronauts and space engineers better understand and learn advanced engineering theories, especially in research methods and management over manned space missions.
China has cooperated with Russia and Germany as well as aerospace organizations since it started its manned space program in 1992.
During the launch of Shenzhou-7 in September 2008, Russian aerospace experts were invited to the launch center to observe the mission, which culminated in China's first ever space walk by astronaut Zhai Zhigang.
Two astronauts on Shenzhou-7 wore extra vehicular activity suits made in China and Russia.
Six Chinese volunteers have participated in Russia's Mars-500 program, a ground-based experiment that simulates a manned flight to Mars.
The launch of Shenzhou-8 will also be observed by senior experts from both the European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center, Wu said at the briefing.
Wu said China has been adhering to the principle of strengthening international exchanges and cooperation in space exploration on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and common development for peaceful ends.