Video still showing China’s Shenzhou 8 spacecraft docked with the Tiangong 1 lab module on Nov. 3, 2011.
CREDIT: China Central Television


Europe May Work With China on Space Station

Rob Coppinger, Contributor
Date: 26 February 2013 Time: 12:00 PM ET

China aims to establish a large manned space station within the next decade, officials have said, and the latest reports suggest that this outpost could host not only Chinese astronauts, but European spaceflyers as well.

A plan is afoot for China and Europe to cooperate on the venture, which might see the European Space Agency (ESA) building technologies, including a rendezvous and docking system, for the station, in exchange for opportunities for its astronauts to visit the facility.

China plans to have the space station running by 2020. Both the station and China’s manned spacecraft Shenzhou could use ESA’s International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM), because of a problem with the Russian system the Chinese have been using until now.

China’s Shenzhou and Tiangong-1 space laboratory, a test module already in orbit, use a modified version of Russia’s Androgynous Peripheral Attach System (APAS). APAS was developed for the 1975 Apollo Soyuz Test Project and is used on the International Space Station (ISS).

Read more: Europe Prepares to Cooperate With China on Space Station |

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