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China to carry out manned space flight

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Posted in Science on 10th Jun, 2012 08:58 AM by AlexMuller

A rocket carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft has been moved to a launch pad in the north-west of the country.

 

According to state news agency Xinhua, it will carry three astronauts - possibly including a woman - to the Tiangong 1 space station module.

 

This will be China's fourth manned space flight and its first since 2008.

 

It became only the third country to independently send a man into space in 2003.

 

Stellar plans
 
Last year, China completed a complicated space docking manoeuvre when an unmanned craft docked with the Tiangong 1, or "Heavenly Body", by remote control.

 

The astronauts onboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft will also dock with the Tiangong 1 - an experimental module currently orbiting Earth - and carry out scientific experiments on board.

 

Xinhua reported that Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of China's manned space programme, said the crew "might include female astronauts".

 

The mission is part of China's programme to develop a full orbiting space station.

 

Beijing is planning to complete the 60-tonne manned space station by 2020.

 

China was previously turned away from the International Space Station, a much bigger project run by 16 nations, reportedly after objections from the United States.
 



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