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
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.