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Tiangong-1 to be Prepared for Space Docking
    UPDATED: 2011-10-13
BEIJING, Oct. 12 (China Space News) — Tiangong-1 space module has finished its 118 circles around the Earth as of October 7. The spacecraft is expected to enter the preparation phase to conduct China's first space rendezvous and docking, according to Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center.

Tiangong-1 target module was lofted to a preset orbit aboard Long March-2FT1 launch vehicle in the evening of Sept. 29. Under the direction of Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center, it made its first orbital transfer at 01:58 the next day after launch, raising its apogee altitude from 346 kilometers to 355 kilometers. The second orbital maneuver began at 16:09 when its perigee altitude was increased from 200 kilometers to 362 kilometers, sending the spacecraft into the test orbit successfully.

Tiangong-1 space lab has basically completed in-orbit tests and will go through three or four orbital maneuvers before entering the docking orbit to dock with Shen Zhou 8 spaceship, said the Center.