BEIJING: China has invited scientists from Pakistan, Germany, France, Italy, Russia and the EU to watch the launch of its next month’s manned space flight to send two astronauts to join a space lab which has been put into orbit, a media report said.
The scientists were invited to watch the launch of Shenzhou 11 capsule from Inner Mongolia in October, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
The capsule will be propelled by a Long March 2F rocket similar to the one which put the experimental space lab Tiangong-2 into orbit last night without a hitch. The Tiangong-2 launch was telecast live on state TV.
China has been helping Pakistan’s space programme. It has launched Pakistan’s communication Satellite PAKSAT-1R in 2011. Recent reports said the two countries had signed an agreement to launch a remote sensing satellite in 2018 to monitor the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
The invitation to scientists from Germany, France, Russia and EU showed China’s growing confidence in its space programme, a commentator on state-run CCTV said last night.
In April 2017, China’s first cargo spaceship Tianzhou-1 will be sent into orbit to dock with the space lab, providing fuel and other supplies.
If the fuel-supply experiment goes well, China will then become the second country after Russia to master the in-orbit propellant technique, Zhu Congpeng, chief designer of Tiangong-2 said.