BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese space expert said Friday that three Chinese astronauts, including one woman, are expected to board the Shenzhou-10, the country's new manned spacecraft, which should launch sometime between June and August.
Zhou Jianping, the head designer of China's manned space program, told Xinhua that he expects a female astronaut to participate in the mission, together with two male astronauts.
The Shenzhou-10 is expected to dock with the orbiting lab module Tiangong-1, he said.
"The three astronauts will stay in orbit for 15 days, including 12 days when they will work inside the coupled complex of the Shenzhou-10 and Tiangong-1," said Zhou, who will attend the upcoming annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the top political advisory body.
To popularize scientific knowledge and inspire enthusiasm for science, the chief designer said the astronauts will give lectures to students via a video feed as they work in the Tiangong-1 lab module.
The Tiangong-1 was sent into space in September 2011. It later docked with the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft in November 2011, and with the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft in June 2012.