China: Docking mission 'complete success' after spacecraft lands
Chinese scientists monitor the docking of the Tiangong-1 space lab module and the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft on November 3.
November 17th, 2011
11:50 AM ET

China: Docking mission 'complete success' after spacecraft lands

China’s unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft landed in the country’s Inner Mongolia region Thursday, ending a mission that saw the nation complete its first space docking, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The docking is a key step toward Beijing’s goal of building a space station.

Shenzhou-8 docked twice with the lab module Tiangong-1 more than 210 miles above Earth, Chinese space officials said. Shenzhou-8 - a type of capsule that would carry astronauts in a nontest situation - disengaged from Tiangong-1 for the final time Wednesday before being brought back to Earth on Thursday.

See Xinhua graphic depicting stage of Shenzhou-Tiangong docking

Chang Wanquan, chief of China’s manned space program, said the mission was a "complete success," and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Deijang delivered a congratulatory note from the country’s central authorities, Xinhua reported.

Tiangong-1, which China launched in September, will wait in space for two more Shenzhou docking missions - at least one of which will be manned - planned for 2012, according to Xinhua.

China launched Shenzhou-8 from the Gobi Desert on November 1.

China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003, the first stage in a "three-step" strategy to develop its manned engineering project. The launch of the Tiangong-1 lab module was the second step. If successful, it will be followed by the last phase: to build a permanent space lab that will allow astronauts to conduct long-term space experiments.

According to Xinhua, Beijing hopes to build a space station by around 2020.

- CNN's Jaime FlorCruz and Haolan Hong contributed to this report.

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Filed under: China • Space
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. ChineserFunny

    John,
    Communism stands for one thing. All to the dictator and nothing for ANYONE else. N. Korea would be a prime example. China is a joke spending tons of money on useless crap. Their day is coming. They do not take care of any of their people . The country is a waste land. Its aweful. If the government paid these poor people a decent wage for work it would all shift economically. I'm disgusted what a government will do to hard working people to make some money yet these people are in poverty filth and ruins. Awesome! That government sucks!

    November 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChineseScientist

      Another loser, a high school dropout, or a college non-performer, full of racial hatred, and only speak with racial slur. US go into decline because there are too many losers.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      China is booming, it works for them, now lets get America back on it's feet by doing things the correct way!

      November 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      It sounds like Capitalism

      November 17, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      ALSO, ChinerFunny, it's one thing to be racial about another country, but also incredibly naive of you to trash another country and it's system when the very country YOU live in is also living in poverty/trash/etc.

      Look into communism before you throw out stereotypical things that EVERYONE else says!
      The system works (Communism)
      Democracy also works

      Give it a rest, you must have your own issues, don't you?

      November 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • IrishYank2

      So please explain to me, professor, how their economy is BOOMING and quality of life is increasing by leaps and bounds while we're about to experience the first generation to have a lower quality of life than their parents? Oh, yes, that's right, because COMMUNISM is getting in the way. And comparing China to NK only further proves how uneducated you are.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • monogopapenog

      The Chinese peasant has lived under these conditions for thousands of years. Khans, emperors, dictators what does it matter?

      November 18, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    I was just wondering what we could do if we all approached space together. As humans.. Surely the chinese can see they're.. Like.. 60 years behind..?

    November 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChineseScientist

      The late comer becomes the winner.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      you got to start somewhere – Remember the Pet Commodore?

      November 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ChineseScientist

    A symbol of the coming era. Chinese moves to the center of power, and explore the space frontier.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      a small step for man – a giant leap for mankind – they are not Darth Vadar

      November 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • IrishYank2

      Fine. Let them have it. Let someone else experience universal hatred for merely existing. Then we Americans can play victims to the Chinese imperialism and complain about how ugly, atrocious and stupid they are, all the while demanding they intervene on everything everywhere while whining about how they intervene on everything, everywhere. Frankly, I can't wait!

      November 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. docker

    Would you live in it........? Not a damn thing made in china last more than few hours....even sign up for death roll still give you more time to live...Good Luck!

    November 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmericanConsumers

      From cradle to grave, Chinese supplies US all kind of affordable quality product. Go to Walmart, Home Depot, Sears, and all US department stores, Chinese product are sold, many with life time warranty from the retailers. So you are wrong. Your racial slur is unAmerican. Of course, you are probably another race hater from other part of the world.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      its hard when you cannot accept another nation's success and see your own falling – Lets hope for better times for everyone.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • CircusTrainer

      Yes I am thinking about moving to Beijing. I did live in the US but was not very impressed with living in the South.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • whosurdaddy

      Look like you last more than a few hours, what happened to your real father?

      November 18, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. *cosmicvox*

    Confusious say: What go Up must come Down.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Yovanis

    Nations take in to consideration plublic opinions, this is very constructive, is good for every one that you all continue talking good or bad and the end is all and experiment in how to make a better world every time every chance is not a competicion is just human race. One world

    November 18, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. WAKE UP YOU NEED TO BAN TOGETHER

    KEEP FIGHTING THATS WHAT THEY WANT

    November 18, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. monogopapenog

    a complete success – what else would one expect from the Chinese propaganda machine?

    November 18, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Clearviewer

    Now China is capable to capture or destroy Indians sattelites in space.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
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