|Wu Ping (R), spokeswoman for China's manned space program, speaks during a press conference in Jiuquan of northwest China's Gansu Province, Oct. 31, 2011. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
JIUQUAN, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- A China manned space program spokeswoman said here Monday that China is going to conduct another manned space mission by 2012.
Spokeswoman Wu Ping said at a press briefing Monday morning that China plans to launch in 2012 spaceships Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10, which are expected to dock with China's first space lab module, Tiangong-1.
"At least one mission of the two will be manned," Wu said.
The crew members have already been selected for the possible space docking mission in 2012 and are being trained for manual docking skills, Wu said.
Before the manned flight, China has to test its knowhow on space docking by launching an unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8, whose takeoff is scheduled at 5:58 a.m. Tuesday, and connecting Shenzhou-8 with the target orbiter Tiangong-1.
"Although the Shenzhou-8 is unmanned, we equip the spacecraft with devices recording real images and mechanical parameters during its flight, both of which are vital to future manned missions," Wu said.