Wednesday, November 10, 2010

China shows space skills with satellite rendezvous

Originally published Nov. 10, 2010

Associated Press

DENVER -- China has pulled off a tricky and uncommon feat in space flight, maneuvering one of its satellites to within about 300 yards of another while they were orbiting the Earth, space analysts say.

Some analysts view the rendezvous as a potentially ominous sign of China's ability to carry out a hostile act or espionage against a rival satellite. Others say it could have been a test of docking skills.

China has not said why it conducted the maneuver, but it comes as the nation is ambitiously expanding its space program, including building a space station and conducting lunar missions. It is expected to launch the first module of its space station next year, followed by a manned spacecraft to dock with it.

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