Feeds

China's second woman 'naut blasts off for coupling in HEAVEN

Wang and pals test the cosmic waters for Chinese space station

Build a business case: developing custom apps

China has sent its second woman taikonaut into space on a mission that will light the way to a permanent Chinese base in orbit.

Wang Yapin, and her male colleagues Commander Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang, blasted off from Inner Mongolia at 0938 GMT today. Their 15-day mission, code-named "Shenzhou-10", is the longest ever attempted by taikonauts.

They will dock with the space lab Tiangong-1, which means Heavenly Palace 1 and is effectively an early prototype of a fully fledged Chinese space station. The People's Republic is hoping to get a proper base in space operational by 2020, but it needs to practice docking and other critical manoeuvres before attempting to build an even more heavenly palace up there in orbit - which is where Wang and her pals come in.

The first woman taikonaut was part of a squad that successfully docked with the Tiangong-1 last year, the first time Chinese 'nauts had pulled off this tricky feat.

China is desperate to plant its flag in the heavens, but it is way behind Russia and America, which both raced into space and occupied small patches of it for more than 50 years. Beijing sent its first mission up to space in 2003, but judging by the rate of its economic growth in recent years, there's every chance China will achieve its dreams of space supremacy.

So far, America has kept China away from the International Space Station, which is expected to be retired and plunge into the sea in 2020 - the same date Beijing hopes to power up its own orbiting platform.

The Communist state is also keen to send a mission to the Moon, prompting NASA to ask very politely if taikonauts would keep 75 metres away from the Apollo 11 touch-down site and 225 metres away from Apollo 17's lunar landing spot. NASA wants to make sure Man's first footprints on the Moon aren't disturbed, along with all the other kit it's left up there.

Of course, China has every right to tell the Americans to sod off and head along anyway. After all, what has NASA got to hide? ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.