China to put up first spacelab on Thursday

Shenzhou-8 undergoes testing in preparation for carrying out an unpiloted rendezvous and docking mission to the Tiangong-1platform. Image courtesy China Manned Space Engineering Office

Every day that the Republican controlled House bickers over nickels, while lavishing trillions on the rich and useless wars, we are ceding the high ground to a former enemy. I guess we can just hope that former enemy stays a friendly banker and business partner:

China’s Tiangong 1 space lab is slated to launch aboard a Chinese Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China. The prototype, which will test docking technology with the country’s Shenzhou spacecraft, is an important step toward China’s goal of constructing a crewed space station in orbit.

The Chinese program is ambitious, it combines the Gemini phase of the US program where crews learned to rendezvous and dock two or more spacecraft with the Skylab portion. If all goes well, Chinese engineers plan to use that knowledge and the same module design to create a scalable space station, illustrated below, similar to the early stages of the ISS.

Click image to learn how Take a look at how China's first space station, called Tiangong ("Heavenly Palace") will be assembled in orbit at


  1. slc1 says

    It would appear that Mr. Darksyde is a member of the Phil Plait school of advocating manned space flight. Just to provide some backpush, here’s an OPED from Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg with an opposing position.

    In addition, there is Un. of Maryland physics professor Bob Park, another critic of manned space flight.

    Of course, Dr. Plait claims that Prof. Park, and by extension Prof. Weinberg, don’t know what they are talking about.

  2. Trebuchet says

    Just being a bit pedantic here, but that doesn’t look ” similar to the early stages of the ISS” to me. More like Mir.

    And I’m for all the spaceflight we can get, manned AND unmanned.

  3. slc1 says

    Re Trebuchet @ #3

    I once took a course from Steven Weinberg. I knew Steven Weinberg. Mr. Trebuchet is no Steven Weinberg.

Leave a Reply