Beijing, June 15 (People's Daily Online)-- The Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft will be launched at 6:37 p.m. on June 16, according to China's manned space docking program headquarters.
Three astronauts, two male and one female, will board China's fourth manned spacecraft to fulfill the country's first manned space docking mission.
Wu Ping, spokeswoman of 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 on Friday.
China’s Shenzhou-9 mission has attracted great attention of foreign media which highly hailed this aerospace operation.
New York Times reported that Beijing announced last December a five-year plan for space exploration that includes launching a space lab and collecting samples from the moon by 2016. In 2003 the country carried out its first successful human spaceflight, and in 2008 Chinese astronauts took their first spacewalk. China completed its first space docking last November when the Shenzhou 8 capsule coupled with the Tiangong 1 orbital module by remote control.
Daily Times of Pakistan said it will make China the third country to send a woman into space using its own technology. China’s space launches are often timed to coincide with national festivals and laden with patriotism.
BBC reported if the mission goes off as planned it will also mark another significant milestone.
Bloomberg News said Saturday’s launch may bring China a step closer to its goal of operating a permanent manned space station and putting a person on the moon by 2020.
CNN reported if all goes well with the launch, which is planned for mid-June, the Shenzhou-9 will dock with China's orbiting space laboratory, making the nation the third after the United States and Russia to complete a manned space docking.”
"The efforts demonstrate China's continued commitment to becoming a first-class space power with an independent space capability," CNN reported citing this comment of associate professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.