Science

China to blast 2 astronauts into space on Monday

Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, left, and Chen Dong, right, wave from behind a glass enclosure during a presser at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. Chinese officials unveiled plans for Monday's launch of the country's latest space mission in which the two astronauts will be blasted into space and will dock with an orbiting space lab. (Chinatopix Via AP)

Chinese officials unveiled plans for Monday's launch of the country's latest space mission in which two astronauts will be blasted into space and will dock with an orbiting space lab. Astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong will be on board the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft as it blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, the official Xinhua news agency reported Sunday. They will arrive at China's orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 within two days and stay for 30 more before returning to earth. China says its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.

We're very excited...to have the biggest show back in town.

Sarah Daugherty, test director at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility

Orbital ATK, one of NASA's shippers, aims to launch its own cargo ship Sunday night from Wallops Island to the International Space Station. The company's retooled Antares rocket will do the honors. An Antares promptly exploded the last time one took off, on a space station supply run for NASA on Oct. 28, 2014. Orbital ATK spent the past two years redesigning the unmanned rocket and rebuilding the launch pad.

Summarized by

130

VIPs

Orbital ATK

More than 130 VIPs were expected from Capitol Hill for the launch on Sunday. Weather permitting, the launch should be visible as far south as Charleston, South Carolina; as far north as Boston; and as far west as Pittsburgh.

Shenzhou 11

Shenzhou 11 is a planned manned spaceflight of the Shenzhou program of China, scheduled for 17 October 2016- it will dock with the Tiangong-2 space laboratory which was launched on September 15, 2016.

Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK Inc. is an American aerospace manufacturer and defense industry company. It was formed in 2015 from the merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation and parts of Alliant Techsystems. Its revenue for 2015 financial year was 4,440 million US-$ with a staff of 12,300.