Shenzhou-9 crew honored with medals

Three astronauts of the Shenzhou-9 mission who conducted China’s first manned space docking in June were given medals for their service to the country’s space endeavors.

Jing Haipeng, commander of the Shenzhou-9 flight crew, was honored with a second-class aerospace achievement medal; Liu Wang and Liu Yang, who was China’s first female astronaut, were both conferred third-class medals and the honorary title of “heroic astronaut.”

The decision was made on Oct. 1 by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission, said an official statement released Wednesday.

The three astronauts aboard Shenzhou-9 spacecraft were sent into space on June 16. They successfully operated the spacecraft to conduct both automatic and manual space dockings with the target orbiter of Tiangong-1.

The three crew members also entered Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011, and completed a series of scientific experiments in space before returning to Earth on June 29.

“The complete success of manned space docking maneuvers illustrates another major breakthrough of China’s space docking technology, marking significant progress in the second step of China’s manned space program,” the statement said.

Xinhua