China Readies for 1st Manned Space Docking

Milestone comes 6 months after China announced 5-year space plan

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 9, 2012 1:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – Yet another advance is in the works for China's space program. China will try for its first manned space docking later in June, its space agency announced today, according to the New York Times. The Shenzhou 9 will dock with the Tiangong 1 space lab "sometime in June," with a three-person crew that could include a female astronaut. The rocket and space craft were moved to a launch platform in the Gobi Desert today. Since its first manned space flight in 2003, China has been moving aggressively with its space program, late last year announcing an ambitious five-year plan, which included bringing back rocks from the moon.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, the Shenzhou-8 blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Nov. 1, 2011.
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, the Shenzhou-8 blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Nov. 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Gang)
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