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Shenzhou 9's three-person crew, including China's first female astronaut  (Source:
The Shenzhou 9 made its way into space on a Chinese Long March 2F rocket on Saturday, June 16

China successfully completed its first manned docking in space today using the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and the Tiangong 1 space module.

"We are one step closer to our destination of constructing a future space station," said an official with China's space program. "This is the first successful crew transportation mission for China."

The Shenzhou 9 made its way into space on a Chinese Long March 2F rocket on Saturday, June 16. It launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gansu province in northern China.

The Shenzhou 9 successfully docked at the Tiangong 1 space module in automatic mode today, marking the first manned docking for China. China is the third country (after the United States and Russia) to make such a quest.

But the docking isn't the only historic marker for China. The three-person crew aboard the Shenzhou 9 consisted of China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang. The other two astronauts were Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang.

"I feel honored to fly into space on behalf of hundreds of millions of Chinese females," said Liu.

The Shenzhou 9 will remain docked at the Tiangong 1 until later this week, and then re-dock for another test in manual mode. The spacecraft is expected to be in orbit for 13 days.

The Tiangong 1 was launched into space in September 2011, and the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft linked up to it in November. Today's manned docking represented a whole new first for the country.

China described its five-year space plans in a report released by the government last December. According to the blueprint, the country wants to construct space stations, ship freighters, space laboratories and a manned spaceship through the end of 2016.
China also said it plans to use probes to explore the moon's surface as well as asteroids, planets and the sun, and it wants to improve launch vehicles, meteorological
satellites, communications and broadcasting to form a global satellite navigation system.


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RE: It's about time.
By Samus on 6/19/2012 1:44:45 AM , Rating: 2
They also have virtually unlimited resources, cheap labor, educated engineers, and ever-increasing quality control. I know the last monolithic achievement in China was a high speed rail that crashed 63 days into operation (Japan's hasn't crashed since its maiden voyage decades ago) but it DID run for 63 days, and the failure was a bridge, not the train itself.

They are catching up fast. Many Chinese sectors of engineering and production are now world-class.

However, as I've commented on before, China can be very wreckless in space travel, more so than the Soviets used to be. They product a lot of 'space junk' and have a reputation for satellite launch failures.

RE: It's about time.
By JoeOnRoute66 on 6/19/2012 8:24:46 AM , Rating: 1
And the US is financing the operation.

RE: It's about time.
By amanojaku on 6/19/2012 8:31:28 AM , Rating: 2
The Chinese government also withholds its resources from its citizens, permits slave labor, steals from companies abroad, and views quality control as "try, try again".

RE: It's about time.
By bobsmith1492 on 6/19/2012 9:15:00 AM , Rating: 3
Quality control?? In China??

Pardon me while I burst out laughing.

Chinese quality control is whatever I can get away with and still make money.

RE: It's about time.
By elleehswon on 6/19/2012 10:48:04 AM , Rating: 3
correct, and to add to that, quality control scales with complaints against quality control.

RE: It's about time.
By kattanna on 6/19/2012 11:35:37 AM , Rating: 3
Chinese quality control is whatever I can get away with and still make money.

so your saying, once again they have copied the US ?


RE: It's about time.
By bobsmith1492 on 6/19/2012 11:48:13 AM , Rating: 2
Except they forgot that pesky "it has to still work and not kill people" clause.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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