Having had a very successful unmanned Shenzhou 8 automatic docking test with the Tiangong-1 mini-space station, China has elected to move up its next manned spaceflight to the Shenzhou 9 flight. Originally it was suggested that this mission would be a second unmanned flight. The flight is now planned to take place between June and August this year. The three Chinese astronaut “Taikonaut” crew will make a docking, this time under manual control, and the crew will enter the station to make a short stay before returning to Earth. It has been suggested that China may fly a female Taikonaut on this flight.
© Chinese Manned Space Engineering Office
Shenzuou 8 docks with the Tiangong-1 mini-space station