• China today on Feb 17 said that it will launch its manned space mission "Shenzhou-9" by August this year, denying speculation that it had put off the project. 
  • China will launch its manned "Shenzhou-9" spacecraft between June and August this year, as well as conduct a space rendezvous and docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module, a report in state-run Xinhua news agency said. 
  • The space docking mission will be manually conducted by astronauts, giving China another chance to test its docking technology, Xinhua quoted a spokesman of China's manned space programme as saying. 
  • The Shenzhou-9's three crew members will board the Tiangong-1 after the docking is completed, living there and conducting scientific experiments. 
  • The orbiting Tiangong-1 is ready to accommodate the astronauts, and the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its carrier rocket, the Long-March II-F, are undergoing final checks, he said. 
  • The Tiangong-1 went into space on September 29, last year, docking with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft to complete China's first space docking mission just over a month later.