View Full Version : China's Shenzhou 9: HOME!

Dr Mordrid
9th June 2012, 11:07

China will launch a spacecraft this month to conduct its first manned space docking, state media said Saturday, the latest step in a plan aimed at giving the country a permanent space station by 2020.

The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its carrier rocket have already been moved to the launch platform at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China, the Xinhua news agency said, quoting the country's manned space programme.

The launch -- China's first manned space mission since September 2008 -- would occur "sometime in mid June", it said.

Officials said the mission would involve three astronauts manually docking with the Tiangong-1 module currently orbiting Earth.

In March state media said China may send its first woman into space this year after including female astronauts in the team training for its first manned space docking.

Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the manned space programme, has said that the Shenzhou-9 crew may include female astronauts, Xinhua reported.

China sent its first person into space in 2003 and has since conducted several manned missions, but has never included a woman.

After the space rendezvous, two of the astronauts will move temporarily into the Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace), where they will perform scientific experiments.

One of crew will remain on board the spacecraft as a precaution in case of an emergency, according to the official quoted by Xinhua.

In November, an unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft returned to Earth after completing two space dockings with Tiangong-1 in the nation's first ever hard-to-master "space kiss", bringing together two vessels in high speed orbit.

Mastering space docking technology is a delicate manoeuvre that the Russians and Americans successfully completed in the 1960s.

Tiangong-1, China's first space station module, was launched in September.

China sees its space programme as a symbol of its global stature, growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.

The current programme aims to provide China with a space station in which a crew can live independently for several months, as at the old Russian Mir facility or the International Space Station.

In 2003, China became the third country to send humans into space after Russia and America, and it is now also looking into sending astronauts to the moon, although nothing has been set in stone.

A white paper released late December outlining China's ambitious space programme said the country "will conduct studies on the preliminary plan for a human lunar landing".

No one has been back to the moon since the last US Apollo landing in December 1972.

Dr Mordrid
12th June 2012, 00:25

Shenzhou 9 will have China's first female astronaut on board -


One of two female fighter pilots will become the first Chinese woman in space later this month, after the two were shortlisted for a place in the three-person team that will blast off in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, the state news agency Xinhua said.

Chinese media described Major Liu Yang, from Henan, as a "hero pilot" who achieved a successful emergency landing after a dramatic birdstrike incident spattered the windshield of her plane with blood.

Meanwhile, her rival, Captain Wang Yaping, from Shandong, is said to have flown rescue missions during the Sichuan earthquake and piloted a cloud-seeding plane to help clear the skies of rain for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"They are selected as members of the first batch of female astronauts in China because of their excellent flight skills and psychological quality," said Xinhua.

This month's mission is regarded as an important stage in China's ambitious space programme. "The Shenzhou-9 will perform our country's first manned space docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module," Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the manned space program, told state media.

Dr Mordrid
16th June 2012, 12:02
Pre-flight: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gah9TfHtghM

Launch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tFtreNNOOlU

Pic of crew attached -

16th June 2012, 12:11
Those engines where we would normally expect strap on solids must be liquid fueled unless they use some completely different solid propellent.
Inquiring minds want to know Doc.

Dr Mordrid
16th June 2012, 18:31
The Long March family from the 1 to the 4 (this was the 2F) use strap-on liquids. Those, the core stage and the 2nd stage all use nitrogen (or dinitrogen) tetroxide and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine - a toxic and carcinogenic witches brew that has injured thousands of villagers down-range when any Long March in that series has to be blown up by the flight termination charges.

The Long March 5, 6 and 7 use a more conventional LOX / kerosine combo in the first stage & strap-on boosters and LOX / LH2 in the upper stage.

Dr Mordrid
18th June 2012, 13:17

Chinese astronauts open door on orbiting research lab

Flying on autopilot with three astronauts on-board, China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft glided to a smooth docking with the Tiangong 1 space lab Monday, forming a small-scale space station 200 miles above Earth.

Jing Haipeng, Shenzhou 9's veteran commander, was first to enter the laboratory module about three hours after the two vehicles docked at 0607 GMT (2:07 a.m. EDT; 2:07 p.m. Beijing time).

Jing floated through the narrow 31-inch passage leading into Tiangong 1, followed moments later by Liu Wang, Shenzhou 9's chief pilot.

The astronauts checked Tiangong 1's environmental and control systems, Chinese officials said, before beginning a series of unspecified experiments.

China's first female astronaut - Liu Yang - joined her crewmates inside Tiangong 1 a few minutes later. All three astronauts appeared smiling and waving in video played on Chinese state television.

The astronauts greeted engineers and officials at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center after entering the Tiangong lab.

"During the flight of the complex, the three astronauts will conduct scientific experiments, technological experiments, exercise and rest in Tiangong 1 target vehicle," said Wu Ping, a spokesperson for the China Manned Space Engineering Office.

Dr Mordrid
28th June 2012, 18:51
Home after 13 days -


China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft will return to earth with its three crew members following a 13-day mission.

The craft is expected to land in the Inner Mongolia region of China at about 10:00 (02:00 BST) on Friday.

The astronauts on board carried out a series of experiments during the trip, as well carrying out a successful manual docking with a lab module.

Crew member Liu Yang hit the headlines around the world for being the first Chinese woman in space.

The 33-year old, who is a major in the country's air force, featured in documentaries in China.

Her selection for the mission came at the 11th hour, with Captain Wang Yaping challenging her for selection as the first female Chinese astronaut.

The crew of the Shenzou-9 craft successfully carried out the country's manual docking manoeuvre earlier in the week.