Space docking tops scientific achievements

Updated: 2012-01-17 20:24


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BEIJING - China announced on Tuesday its top 10 scientific achievements in 2011, with the success of its first space docking mission that was completed two months ago topping the list.

The unmanned Shenzhou-III spacecraft was launched on November 1 last year and returned safely to earth on November 17 after completing the country's first space docking with the target module Tiangong-1, which was launched on September 29.

The country had never before joined two spacecraft together in space.

Tiangong-I entered into long-term operation management in space on November 18, and is preparing for two more docking missions planned for 2012.

The acquisition of the space docking technology is vital for China to implement the three-phase development strategy of its manned space program and to promote the sustained development of its manned space cause, according to Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program.

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

Out of a total of 233 scientific achievements of 2011 that were submitted to contend for the annual top 10 list, 31 made it onto the shortlist.

The final entries to the top 10 list were chosen according to voting by academics from the country's premier research organizations, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.