China prepares for manned space mission

May 11, 2012 at 4:22 PM

JIUQUAN, China, May 11 (UPI) -- A Chinese rocket to be used for the launch of the country's first manned spacecraft has been delivered to a launch center in northwest China, officials said.

The Long March-2F carrier rocket that will be used for the upcoming launch of the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft has undergone technical advancements to improve its reliability and safety, a spokesman with the country's manned space program said Thursday.

Assembly and tests will be carried out on the rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft has been at the launch center since April 9 and is being prepared for its manned rendezvous and docking mission with China's orbiting Tiangong-1 space module, the spokesman said.

The Tiangong-1 was launched on Sept. 29 and an unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft docked with it in early November.

China will launch the Shenzhou-9 sometime between June and August, Xinhua reported.

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