09 September 2011
Mr. Zhu Zhisong, President of the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight (SAST), told the Raumfahrt Concret reporter on the 4th CSA-IAA Conference on Advanced Space Technology in Shanghai that the docking mechanism equipped on the Tiangong 1 station prototype is compatible with the “international standard”. The docking mechanism was developed by the Institute 805 of SAST (Shanghai Institute of Space Systems Engineering). He also revealed that SAST will play an important role in the Chinese space station program including building one of two research modules to be launched around 2020. First photos of the Tiangong docking adapter that looks similar to the Russian designed APAS (Androgynous Peripheral Attach System) used on ISS were released a few years ago. But this is the first time it was confirmed the docking adapter is compatible with the international standard that is presumably the APAS-95. It will pave the way for China to have future space docking missions with spacecrafts of other countries including the ISS.