Manned mission to space station this year: China

China today said that it will launch its manned space mission "Shenzhou-9" by August this year, denying speculation that it had put off the project.

Beijing: China today said that it will launch its manned space mission "Shenzhou-9" by August this year, denying speculation that it had put off the project.

China will launch its manned "Shenzhou-9" spacecraft between June and August this year, as well as conduct a space rendezvous and docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module, a report in state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The space docking mission will be manually conducted by astronauts, giving China another chance to test its docking technology, Xinhua quoted a spokesman of China`s manned space programme as saying.

The Shenzhou-9`s three crew members will board the Tiangong-1 after the docking is completed, living there and conducting scientific experiments.

An evaluation of the programme was carried out following a previous rendezvous by the Tiangong-1 and the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, showing that all relevant systems are in good condition and are ready for a manned docking, the spokesman said.

The orbiting Tiangong-1 is ready to accommodate the astronauts, and the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its carrier rocket, the Long-March II-F, are undergoing final checks, he
said.

The Tiangong-1 went into space on September 29, last year, docking with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft to complete China`s first space docking mission just over a month later.

Some official media reports said yesterday that the manned mission was put off for next year.

PTI

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