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Shenzhou 9



The 13 day flight of Shenzhou 9 is centered around the expected docking with unmanned space module Tiangong 1 that was launched on 29 September 2011. This module is the rudiment of China’s space station and is an experimental space laboratory, launched with the objective to carry out the rendezvous and docking test with the Shenzhou 8, that was launched in November 2011. The Chinese see this as a key step towards gaining the experience for the construction, management and operation of a space station.

After the launch, Shenzhou 9 will be initially inserted into a parking orbit, before raising its orbital parameters to a near circular orbit with an altitude of 330 km. The spacecraft will take two days to get near Tiangong 1. Providing everything goes according to plan, the docking is expected to take place on June 18.

Tiangong 1 and Shenzhou 9 will stay docked for a period of 10 days. However, during this time, a second docking maneuver will take place. After another period of docking, Shenzhou 9 will return to Earth.

Alternate Names

  • 38461
  • SZ 9
  • Shenzhou9

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2012-06-16
Launch Vehicle: Long March 2F
Launch Site: Jiuquan, Peoples Republic of China

Funding Agency

  • China National Space Administration (Peoples Republic of China)


  • Engineering

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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