News / Science & Technology

    China Launches Spacecraft, Eyes Space Station

    The Long March II-F rocket loaded with China's unmanned space module Tiangong-1 lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 29, 2011.
    The Long March II-F rocket loaded with China's unmanned space module Tiangong-1 lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 29, 2011.

    China has launched an unmanned spacecraft, in what is described as Beijing's first step toward building its own space station.

    The 8.5 ton module - known as Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace" - lifted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, a site in China's northwestern Gobi Desert, late Thursday night local time.  The craft was propelled by a Long March 2F rocket.

    Detailed reports about the launch were splashed across Chinese newspapers and the development was hailed by state-run broadcasters. State television beamed a live broadcast of the launch into homes across China.

    The importance of the event was underscored by the presence of China's top leaders - including President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping - at the Beijing command and control center. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was at the Jiuquan Center to witness the launch in person.

    Another unmanned spacecraft to be launched November 1 will meet up with the module for China's first space-docking procedure.

    China plans several more rendezvous-and-docking procedures before the end of next year - at least one of which will be manned. The program calls for construction of a space laboratory by 2016 and completion of a 60-ton space station around 2020.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that China's activities in space are peaceful. Hong says China is ready to work with other countries on things like manned space missions that he says will contribute to the advancement of world space technologies.

    China conducted its first manned space flight in 2003, more than four decades after pioneering flights by the United States and Soviet Union. The latest efforts come at a time when the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle fleet has left the future of the American space program in question.

    Australian-based space analyst Morris Jones tells VOA the module launched Thursday will allow China to test some of the technologies it will need for the space station.

    The China Daily newspaper on Thursday quoted a program spokeswoman as saying the same technology can be used for moon landings and deep-space exploration, though there is presently no timetable for a moon landing.  Many Western analysts believe a moon landing is China's ultimate goal.

    Thursday's launch had been scheduled for August 18, but was postponed after a Long March 2-C rocket failed in the attempted launch of a satellite earlier this month.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora