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Sunday, June 10, 2012

China to launch manned space capsule

China will launch this month three astronauts into space that are attached to an orbital space station and the crew may include a woman, said Saturday the official press. A rocket that will carry the Shenzhou module 9 was moved to a launch pad on Saturday in northwestern China for launch in mid-June, said the official Xinhua News Agency, according to a spokesman for the space program. The three-member crew will mate and live in the Tiangong 1 orbiter launched last year, Xinhua said. The government did not specify the duration of the mission. According to Xinhua, Niu Hongguang, deputy commander of the manned space program, the crew "could include women astronauts." The government said in 2010 that two women pilots joined the Air Force astronaut program but without giving details. China's space program has made ​​steady progress since the launch of 2003 and is the third nation to put a man in space on their own. Two other missions followed the first, including a space walk. China completed its first rendezvous in November when the unmanned Shenzhou 8 capsule docked with the Tiangong 1 remote control. Tiangong 1 was launched on September 29. the coming days, scientists tested the Shenzhou 9, the Long March 2F rocket and ground systems, Xinhua said based on the spokesperson. In the first flight, a crew will remain on the Shenzhou 9 "as a precaution in case of emergency" while others access the Tiangong 1, Xinhua said. China scheduled for this year two links and plans to complete a manned space station by 2020 to replace the Tiangong 1. With about 60 tons, the China station will be much less than the International Space Station from 16 nations. Beijing launched its independent of the space station after not having access to the International Space Station to U.S. objections. Washington fears that the Chinese program to share technology with economic and political rivals.

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