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Shenzhou 9

Shenzhou 9 was a manned spacecraft flight of China's Shenzhou program, launched at 18:37:24 CST (10:37:24 UTC), 16 June 2012. Shenzhou 9 was the second spacecraft and first manned spacecraft to dock with the Tiangong 1 space station, which took place on 18 June. The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft landed at 10:01:16 CST (02:01:16 UTC) on 29 June in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The mission's crew included the first Chinese female astronaut, Liu Yang. The next planned mission was Shenzhou 10, which launched on 11 June 2013.[1]


  • History 1
  • Mission preparations 2
    • Expedition Ceremony 2.1
  • Mission 3
  • Crew 4
    • Backup crew 4.1
  • Mission timeline 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


On 12 March 2012, it was announced that the initial crew selection roster for the mission included female astronauts.[2] The crew were unveiled to the press on 15 June. China's first female astronaut would be Liu Yang. Liu was selected ahead of her fellow female astronaut prospect Wang Yaping.[3] This mission also featured the first repeat astronaut, Jing Haipeng, the commander of the mission.[4] Shenzhou 9 was the 9th flight in China's Shenzhou program and the fourth manned spaceflight. The mission's launch was 49 years to the day after that of the first woman in space, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.[3]

Mission preparations

The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft arrived at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the northwestern Gobi Desert on 9 April 2012 and its carrier rocket, the Long March 2F, arrived on 9 May.[5] On 9 June 2012, the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and its carrier rocket were rolled out to launch pad.[6] On 12 June 2012 underwent system-wide joint exercises, and final health checks were completed the following day.

Expedition Ceremony

On June 16, 2012, the Expedition Ceremony was held at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. National People's Congress Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo attended the ceremony. The astronauts, Liu Wang, Liu Yang, and Jing Haipeng, rode to the launch tower and turned in the entrance with the assistance of support staff.[7][8]


The Long March 2F rocket was launched on 16 June 2012 at 10:37 UTC.

Shenzhou 9 docked with China's first space lab Tiangong-1 at 06:07 UTC on 18 June, marking China's first manned spacecraft rendezvous and docking.[9][10] This docking was remotely controlled from a ground station.[11] After about 3 hours, when the pressures inside the vessels were equalized, Jing Haipeng entered into Tiangong-1.[12] Six days later, Shenzhou 9 detached from the station and then redocked manually under the control of crew member Liu Wang, making it the first manual docking for the Chinese program.[11]

Shenzhou 9 landed by parachute in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia on 29 June 2012.[13]


Backup crew

The backup crew for the flight was:[14]
Position Astronaut
First crewmember Nie Haisheng (聂海胜)
Second crewmember Zhang Xiaoguang (张晓光)
Third crewmember Wang Yaping (王亚平)

The backup crew later became the prime crew for Shenzhou 10.[15]

Mission timeline

9 April 2012
  • Shenzhou 9 spacecapsule arrives at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre [5]
9 May 2012
  • Long March 2F spacelauncher arrives at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre [6]
9 June 2012
  • Launch stack rolled out to the launch pad [6]
15 June 2012
  • Crew unveiled [3]
16 June 2012
  • Launch, first woman in space for the Chinese program, first repeat traveller for the Chinese program, first manned mission to a space station for the Chinese program [3]
18 June 2012
  • First manned rendezvous for the Chinese space program.
  • Automated docking with Tiangong 1, first manned docking by the Chinese program [9]
24 June 2012
  • Shenzhou 9 undocks with Tiangong 1 [11]
  • Shenzhou 9 redocks with Tiangong 1, first manual docking by the Chinese space program,[11] second manned docking by the program
29 June 2012

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links

  • Xinhua News, China launches Shenzhou 9 news archive (accessed 2012-06-26)
  • People's Daily Online, Shenzhou-9 Panoramic Report news archive (accessed 2012-06-26)
  •, Shenzhou 9 video archive (accessed 2012-06-26)
  • Spaceflight101, Shenzhou 9 Mission Updates (accessed 2012-06-26)
  •, Shenzhou 9 Mission Diary and Analyses
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