TECH Shenzhou-13 crew finishes cargo spacecraft, space station docking test

TECH

Shenzhou-13 crew finishes cargo spacecraft, space station docking test

Xinhua

09:05, January 08, 2022

China's Shenzhou-13 crew has successfully completed the rendezvous and docking test between Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft and China's space station.

Screen image taken at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on Jan. 8, 2022 shows the Shenzhou-13 astronauts in China's space station core module conducting the manual rendezvous and docking experiment with the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft. (Photos: Xinhua)

The mission was finished at 7:55 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday, and it was conducted manually by the three-member crew inside the space station's core module Tianhe, with the assistance from scientific and technical personnel at ground.

"The crew first issued control instructions to disconnect the cargo spacecraft with the core module, and then made the cargo spacecraft fall back a certain distance from the core module through manual remote operation," Yang Sheng, the cargo spacecraft system's chief designer, told China Media Group. "After that, the crew sent command to the cargo spacecraft again to re-dock it with the space station."

Screen image taken at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on Jan. 8, 2022 shows the process of the manual rendezvous and docking experiment of China's space station with the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft.

Manual remote operation docking tests have significant importance to the construction of the space station.

"The cargo spacecraft will not be able to dock with the space station once the automatic rendezvous and docking fails, so they need to be switched into manual remote operation function mode as a backup," Yang explained.

The Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft will later break from the core module after the rendezvous and docking test. It will pack the wastes from the space station assembly, de-orbit and re-enter the atmosphere where it will be burned, according to Yang. "This is also a key technology for the construction of the space station."

Screen image taken at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on Jan. 8, 2022 shows the process of the manual rendezvous and docking experiment of China's space station with the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft.

The test on Saturday helped to verify the designed performance of the manual remote operation system for any visiting spacecraft, and the rationality of the working procedure between the space station and the ground control.

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue