Mon, October 06, 2008
Sci-Tech > Science

Accompanying satellite begins orbiting Shenzhou-7 spaceship on Sunday

2008-10-05 15:18:15 GMT2008-10-05 23:18:15 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Picture released by China's manned space project on Oct. 5, 2008 shows the image of China's Shenzhou-7 spaceship, taken by a small monitoring satellite six seconds after it was released from the spaceship on Sept. 27, 2008. Launched about two hours after Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang finished the country's first spacewalk, the monitoring satellite has sent back over 1,000 pictures of the spaceship. The shadow on the spaceship was that of the monitoring satellite. (Xinhua Photo)

Picture released by China's manned space project on Oct. 5, 2008 shows the image of China's Shenzhou-7 spaceship, taken by a small monitoring satellite three minutes after it was released from the spaceship on Sept. 27, 2008. Launched about two hours after Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang finished the country's first spacewalk, the monitoring satellite has sent back over 1,000 pictures of the spaceship. The shadow on the spaceship was that of the monitoring satellite. (Xinhua Photo)

Picture released by China's manned space project on Oct. 5, 2008 shows the image of China's Shenzhou-7 spaceship, taken by a small monitoring satellite six minutes after it was released from the spaceship on Sept. 27, 2008. Launched about two hours after Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang finished the country's first spacewalk, the monitoring satellite has sent back over 1,000 pictures of the spaceship. The shadow on the spaceship was that of the monitoring satellite. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists on Sunday successfully directed the accompanying satellite BX-1 to begin circling the Shenzhou-7 spaceship, on an elliptical track of 4 kilometers multiplying 8 kilometers.

It is the first time that China has succeeded in maneuvering this kind of space orbiting, official sources say.

The accompanying satellite began orbiting the orbital capsule of the Shenzhou-7 at 18:14 pm, under the close monitoring and precise control of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

The BX-1 rode the Shenzhou-7 into the space on September 25 and it was launched by the spacecraft two days later. Since September 30, the control center changed its track six times to draw it closer to the space vehicle step by step, and finally it succeeded in orbiting the capsule.

Over the past days, the monitoring satellite has shot over 1,000 pictures of the spaceship from different angles. All the pictures are clear and complete, said an official with the space program.

The photos were condensed and stored after they were taken by the cameras installed on the satellite. The BX-1 shot its first photo six seconds after being released.

In one of the pictures published by the official, the spacecraft was flying like an eagle with the Earth as its background.

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