Space: Shenzhou IX to Launch This Summer

Space: Shenzhou IX to Launch This Summer
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Last 17 of February, China announced that it will send three Taikonauts into space during the Shenzhou 9 mission, scheduled in 2012 sometimes between June and August. The astronauts will conduct a manual rendezvous and a docking operation in orbit with the Tiangong 1 spacecraft which launched by the end of 2011.

The Shenzhou program  (Divine Vessel) is a project of manned space capsules launched in 1992 under the code name 921. The first Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei was sent with the Shenzhou 5 mission, the 15th of October, 2003. In 2011, the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft achieved the first rendezvous in orbit and the first docking in the Chinese space history.

Ministry of Science and Technology of the People´s Republic of China:

“China plans to send three astronauts into space this year, aboard a spacecraft named Shenzhou IX designed to rendezvous and dock with Tiangong-1, further testing the docking technologies applied so far, a spokesman for China’s manned space program said recently.

According to the mission plan, the spacecraft Shenzhou IX will be launched sometime between June and August this year to rendezvous and dock with Tiangong-1, an orbiting spacecraft. Once the docking is complete, astronauts will enter Tiangong-1, living there and conducting scientific experiments, before returning to the ground. Tiangong-1 is now ready to accommodate the astronauts, as confirmed by a comprehensive assessment of the on-board engineering systems.

The Shenzhou IX spacecraft and its carrier rocket, the CZII-F, have been assembled and are undergoing final checks. Astronauts have been trained, and the launch site, landing sites, and control/communication systems have been working smoothly for the launch.”

Source: http://www.most.gov.cn/eng/newsletters/2012/201202/t20120221_92554.htm

Photo Credits: Watching Chinese Rocket Liftoff By cogdogblog / FlickR