China to launch manned spacecraft

Nov. 10, 2012 at 1:59 PM

BEIJING, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- China is set to launch a manned spacecraft in June 2013, a space program official said Saturday.

The spacecraft, Shenzhou-10, will likely have a crew of two male astronauts and one female astronaut, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

"They will stay in space for 15 days, operating both automated and manual space dockings with the target orbiter Tiangong-1, conducting scientific experiments in the lab module and giving science lectures to spectators on the Earth," said Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of China's manned space program.

Shenzhou-10 will connect with China's Tiangong-1 space lab module, where the astronauts' abilities of working and living in space, as well as the functions of the lab module, will be tested, Niu said.

"The success of this mission might enable China to construct a space lab and a space station," Niu said.

"After more than a year of operation in space, Tiangong-1 is still in good condition," Niu said. "Tiangong-1, with a design life of two years, will likely remain in orbit for further operation after the space docking with Shenzhou-10."

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