In mid-June, China will launch the spacecraft “Shenzhou-9” for the second phase of the space flight program to test docking technology in orbit, this time will be manned flight, announced the spokesman of China’s manned space flight program.
Currently, the spacecraft and rocket Changzheng-2F have been transported to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in north-western province Gansu. Over the next few days professionals will test the functioning of all systems of the spacecraft and launch vehicle, the astronauts selected for the flight tests will be informed.
In November 2011, China has made the launch unmanned spacecraft “Shenzhou-8”. This mission of docking two vehicles in orbit has become a landmark event for China, it was the first time in the history of China’s space program. Such technology is needed to create China’s own space station, which should be running by 2020.
The program of manned flights in China is realized in three stages. The first included the launch of two spacecraft with astronauts on board – “Shenzhou-5” in 2003 and “Shenzhou-6” in 2005. The second phase, which is being implemented at present, provides testing of docking technology in orbit. In the third stage China will set up and operate the space station in orbit.
Astronaut Yang Liwei made Chinese first manned flight into space. The first spacewalk of Chinese astronauts was in 2008.