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Tiangong-1 Orbiter Starts Planned Cabin Checks Against Toxic Gas
    UPDATED: 2011-12-19
BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese prototype space lab Tiangong-1 on Thursday started regular checks for toxic gas inside the cabin to better prepare for the country's future manned space docking mission.The Tiangong-1 module, launched on Sept. 29, entered into long-term operation in space with temporary human attendance last month after completing China's first space docking mission with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft.

At 9:52 a.m. Beijing Time, under the control of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC), Tiangong-1 adjusted its flight gesture, followed by a series of planned self-examinations, including detecting any poisonous gas in the cabin, the center said Thursday.

Tiangong-1, a module of a planned space lab, will conduct one toxic gas check every month and assess whether any gas harmful to humans exists inside the cabin, as part of the efforts to smooth the way for the country's future manned space docking mission, according to BACC.

The orbiter has been working normally and the experiments conducted via onboard instruments are proceeding smoothly, the center said.

China plans to establish its own space lab around 2016 and a manned space station around 2020.

The country has announced that two docking missions with Tiangong-1 are planned for next year, and at least one will be manned.