China to conduct manned space mission in 2012

October 31st, 2011 - 10:30 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Oct 31 (IANS) China will conduct a manned space mission in 2012, an official said Monday.

Spokeswoman for the programme Wu Ping said Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spaceships will be launched in 2012. They are expected to dock with China’s first space lab module, Tiangong-1, she said at a press conference, Xinhua reported.

“At least one mission of the two will be manned,” Wu added.

The crew members have already been selected for the possible space docking mission in 2012 and are being trained for manual docking skills, Wu said.

Before the manned flight, China has to test its knowhow on space docking by launching an unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8, whose takeoff is scheduled at 5.58 a.m. Tuesday, and connecting Shenzhou-8 with the target orbiter Tiangong-1.

“We (will) equip the spacecraft with devices to record real images and mechanical parameters during its flight, both of which are vital to future manned missions,” Wu said.

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