|Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, makes remarks at a press conference held by China's manned space docking program headquarters at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, June 15, 2012. The Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft will be launched at 6:37 p.m. (1037 GMT) on June 16, 2012. Three astronauts, two male and one female, will board China's fourth manned spacecraft to fulfill the country's first manned space docking mission. They are Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang who is female, according to the headquarters. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
JIUQUAN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming manned space docking mission, the first of its kind for China, will put astronauts, spacecraft and technologies to the test, and the results will be crucial for the future of the country's manned space program, a spokeswoman said Friday.
Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, made the remarks at a press conference one day before Shenzhou-9 spacecraft is thrust into space to dock with the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module.
China succeeded in the automatic docking between Shenzhou-8 spacecraft and Tiangong-1 lab module last year. A manual docking between Shenzhou-9 and Tiangong-1 will be attempted this time.
A successful manual docking will indicate that China grasps space rendezvous and docking technologies, which is a significance step in the current stage of the three-phase manned space program and will lay a solid foundation for the future of the program, Wu said.
To compare with the previous unmanned rendezvous and docking mission, the upcoming mission boasts several main features, which are also challenges at the same time, Wu said.