back to article Chinese 'nauts reach Heaven after 8-minute coupling

Three Chinese astronauts floated into the Tiangong-1 lab module just after 11am BST, after the first docking of a manned spacecraft this morning. The taikonauts aboard the Shenzhou-9 spaceship made their way onto Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, around three hours after completing the automatic docking, the Xinhua news agency …

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Congratulations taikonauts! Not that it is very surprising that they succeeded.

Now ESA, offer to join them in their building of a space station, we have experience, and need somewhere to go once the ISS is retired!

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Congrats

Well done, another step for mankind - good to see someone is keeping up with manned spaceflight.

On another note - 3 people in 15 m^3?? That's a 'room' 2m high, and 3m X 2.5 m. I mean, sure the stereotype Chinese is quite small, but that's still got to... ahem... cozy :)

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Re: Congrats

Luxury!

The Apollo Command Module had just over 6m^3 for 3 people for sometimes over a week.

I think it might have got a touch smelly in there.

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Re: Congrats

The Apollo CM may have been a bit tight compared to the Chinese spacelab, ISS or the Space Shuttle, but compared to Gemini, Apollo was one pimp-ass ride -- it had reclining couches and enough room to stand up inside -- though I don't doubt it got to smelling a bit after about a week and a half.

Still, while Apollo could stink a bit after flying to the moon and back, the situation in the tiny Gemini cabin could get worse. Astronaut James Lovell once described his time aboard Gemini 7 -- which set a record for endurance flight in 1965 -- as "two weeks in the mens' room". In a demonstration of how well our olfactory systems can filter out certain odors after a while, Frank Borman, back aboard the carrier after Gemini 7, returned to the spacecraft to retrive a book he'd been reading during the mission, and reported that the smell inside the cabin nearly knocked him over.

Also, as spacious as it was, Space Shuttle crews also reported that the cabin could get a bit whiffy over the course of a longer mission.

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Re: Congrats

I read somewhere that the US Navy divers who opened the hatches of returned Apollo command modules nearly passed out from the pong...

I've also read that space is much more spacious in space. So it's not as cramped as it sounds.

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Happy

Re: Congrats

Furtunately for astronauts, air is at less pressure in the capsules, so they don't get the smell as bad. Never the less, space comes with its own illness, such as space adaptation sickness (SAS). This is what happened during Apollo 8:

About an hour after starting his sleep shift, Frank Borman requested clearance to take a Seconal sleeping pill. However, the pill had little effect. Frank Borman eventually fell asleep but then awoke feeling ill. He vomited twice and had a bout of diarrhea that left the spacecraft full of small globules of vomit and feces that the crew cleaned up to the best of their ability.

Yes, liquid poo in zero-G. I hope the Taikonauts don't come down with SAS. And congratulations.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Congrats

"Hang on lads, I'll just open a win......"

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Hype

The Chinese seem to be getting a lot less media attention (El Reg being an honourable exception) than the USA's space programme used to.

This is pretty good stuff - there's no mundane manned space trips.

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Three taikonauts visited the lab module?

At the same time? That's interesting. Another article over the weekend said one taikonaut would remain in the Shenzhou-9 at any given time for safety reasons. Do you know this as a fact, or are you speculating?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

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Re: Three taikonauts visited the lab module?

The Chinese documents of Tiangong show only two sleep stations. I don't know whether there was any safety concern. It could have simply been true that Tiangong didn't have to room to sleep 3.

To be sure, the Chinese have used space-docks that are the same as the Shuttle-Mir devices. This could mean that CNSA is attempting to show an interest in using international standards. They are VERY new to this stuff, though. Tiangong looks to be a technology demonstration versus and exploitable long-term-usable space technology.

They are using pure Hydrazine/UDMH in their lifting rockets. Technologically, it makes it easier on the rocket designer. It is nasty toxic stuff to handle. NASA did use it for Shuttle for in-space orbiter attitude control. Titan II also used this fuel.

RP-1 is widely considered a cheaper, easier-to-handle rocket fuel. It does have fancier rocket requirements, though.

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Re: Three taikonauts visited the lab module?

At the same time?

Well, here's a foto from the front page of Spaceflight Now.

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The picture in your post...

I see where the picture comes from CNSA. It looks like a bigger than the 15 cubic-meter statistic, though.

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Did the editor bother to read the heading to this article. Chinese 'nauts reach heaven after 8-minute coupling. Lucky,Lucky Lucky.

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"Did the editor bother to read the heading"

Welcome to the Register johneb, you must be new here :)

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Fancy a quick dock?

The three occupants did not have a hands-on docking procedure, it was all done for them elsewhere. All they had to do was sit back and watch the remote coupling.

A slow but sure easing in giving entry to a larger chamber.

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Coat

Re: Fancy a quick dock?

A slow but sure easing in giving entry to a larger chamber.

Naturally, one assumes all the appropriate safety precautions were taken first...

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Trollface

Re: Fancy a quick dock?

And Wang went in after How Long?

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wesome!!

This is fantastic news for all of us.

Space competition is really heating up. I hope they continue these successes for no other reason than what the competition will mean for space exploration and expansion for humanity.

Well done.

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Maybe now..

... the Chinese will think twice before blowing up one of their satellites in orbit.

They risk tearing their own space station to shreds with the debris

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Liu Wang and Liu Yang seem a little confusing; I suspect we lose a lot in the transliteration.

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>China wants to build its very own space station by 2020, which is likely to be when the International Space Station goes into retirement.

God why? Hasn't the ISS demonstrated clearly enough what a waste of money space stations are? Still congrats on their accomplishment. Sadly now that government is a four letter word in the US, China might be man's best chance of making it to Mars.

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FAIL

oh yeah

Before some Laissez-faire Ron Paul tard gets on to tell me how very soon and very efficiently the Weyland Corporation will be going to Mars for some unobtainium or whatever I say even if so, they are going to the have best interests of all of man aren't they? It's only science if the shareholders let you publish information publicly.

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prototype

Quick factual note: This Tiangong space station module is a prototype. It won't be the hub of their space station, the replacement will.

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Anonymous Coward

hmmmm

And just as the docking is complete, the X37B has flown home

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/18/x37b_returns_to_earth/

that cannot be a coincidence.

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Black Helicopters

Re: hmmmm

Chinese 'nauts reach Tiangong only to discover someone has scrawled 'uncle Sam woz here' on the side?

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Mushroom

Re: that cannot be a coincidence

Be that as it may, I think we can all breathe a deep sigh of relief that the U.S., Russia and China are all signatories to the Outer Space Treaty, which makes it perfectly clear:

"First, it contains an undertaking not to place in orbit around the Earth, install on the moon or any other celestial body, or otherwise station in outer space, nuclear or any other weapons of mass destruction."

"Second, it limits the use of the moon and other celestial bodies exclusively to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for establishing military bases, installation, or fortifications; testing weapons of any kind; or conducting military maneuvers."

Let's face it, the U.S. has a sketchy reputation when it comes to Weapons of Mass Destruction. Didn't they lie about Iraq having them?

So can we believe the U.S. when they say they won't put any WMD in orbit? And what do you think the General Staffs of the Russian and Chinese Militaries might do about it?

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Trollface

Re: that cannot be a coincidence

>So can we believe the U.S. when they say they won't put any WMD in orbit?

We did do it before and it was damn pretty even if it fried most of the early satellites in space. Honestly you give the US too much credit. Considering how broke we are, we are much happier to mess with brown people with relatively cheap drones (which beats half ass occupations for sure) than being Blofeld like these days.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime

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Re: that cannot be a coincidence

Oh missed the in orbit part. So far all ours in space where on ballistic trajectories. We have put nuclear material in orbit but no nukes. Nowadays as much as the politicians blow the nuclear industry for money they wouldn't risk an accident during a risky launch as the industry is on the ropes already.

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A bit quick?

Anyone think that the docking approach speed was a bit quick? Certainly looked a bit faster than a Soyuz/Progress docking with the ISS.

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Re: A bit quick?

tolerances can be a bit looser when if there are any problems you can pretend like nothing ever happened and bury the story.

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