Chinese Mini Space Station

From Slashdot via Hobbyspace.

There’s some confusion regarding Shenzou 7 (the upcoming mission), 8, 9 and 10 forming a space station by snapping together in orbit.

The orbital module of Shenzou can stay behind on orbit just fine, it can function as an independent spacecraft, while the crew returns with the crew module. They have done this with previous Shenzous as well. If the OM:s (or some of them) have docking ports on both ends, I don’t think it will be that hard to dock and chain them.

I don’t remember if they have demonstrated rendezvous and docking yet in any scale. I imagine it being quite a lot easier nowadays with better comms and computers than during the days of Gemini.

Of course, this is a model for orbital propellant depots as well. Too bad the western space agencies are too corrupt and self-absorbed to think anything like that.

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