Visitors to the Heavenly Palace

Three Chinese astronauts have successfully docked their Shenzhou-10 capsule with the Tiangong-1 space laboratory (“Heavenly Palace”) for a 15 day stay in in orbit. 

Chinese astronauts (from left) Wang Yaping, mission commander Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang gesture as they prepare to board the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft in Jiuquan, China, on Tuesday.

The crew, pictured above, also includes Wang Yaping, China’s second female astronaut.  She will be practicing docking maneuvers between the Shenzhou-10 and theTiangong-1.  Wang is the China’s first teacher in space, in an analog to Christa McAuliffe.

These are the last astronauts to stay in the Heavenly Palace because it is running short on material to sustain it’s mission. Luckily, a new Heavenly Palace, the Tiangong-2, is being built to replace the current lab in the near future.  Interestingly, the Chinese are not abandoning the current Heavenly Palace, but intend to use it as a giant warehouse in the sky to help store material for their planned space station.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +