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Space Docking Technology Granted 15 Patent Certificates
    UPDATED: 2011-11-25
BEIJING, Nov. 23 (China Space News) — China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on Tuesday conferred 15 patent certificates to the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) in Shanghai, developer of the docking mechanism for China's first space docking mission.

Zhao Wen, vice mayor of Shanghai and Yuan Jie, vice president of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) were present at the ceremony.

Under the leadership of CASC, SAST spent over 10 years developing the docking device -- the most complicated space product in China's aerospace history. Researchers at the SAST also developed a full set of world-class ground testing systems for the docking device: capable of simulating the capturing, buffering and departing processes in high-low temperatures and vacuum tests when two spacecraft attempt to dock with each other.

"The patent certificates are an award in recognition of the aerospace sector's self-innovation, and will encourage China's space workers to be more devoted to the cause of building a space station in the future, " said Yuan Jie at the ceremony.

In general, rendezvous and docking requires that two spacecraft start at a remote distance, come together into a common orbit, rendezvous, dock, and control the new combined spacecraft in both orbit and attitude -- and the docking mechanism plays an integral role in the process.

According to the SAST, engineers conducted 1,101 docking experiments and 647 separating experiments on the ground to improve the docking device's reliability before its launch.