Tiangong-1&Shenzhou-10 Manned Space Mission  >  China's Space Exploration
China’s Shenzhou Spacecraft
UPDATED:2013-06-02     SOURCE:China Space News

20 November 1999 - Shenzhou-1
Shenzhou-1 was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in 1999. It was China's first test spaceship. After completing a 12 hour flight and carrying out all the planned scientific experiment, the spaceship landed successfully in central Inner Mongolia. By Shenzhou-1, China realized the spaceship reentry to the earth.

10 January 2001 - Shenzhou-2
2 years later, China launched Shenzhou-2, which was the country's first unmanned spacecraft. Technically, it was almost the same as a manned spacecraft. It returned to Earth 7 days later. Experiments were carried out under minor gravity. Equipment functioned well and much scientific data was gathered.

25 March 2002 - Shenzhou-3
In 2002, Shenzhou-3 was launched. Its design was the same as a manned spaceship. The craft travelled in space for 7 days. Many experiments were carried out on board. And during this flight, an emergency escape system was tested, with satisfactory results. This laid a strong foundation for the later development of a manned space mission.

30 Dcecmber 2002 - Shenzhou-4
Later in 2002, China launched the Shenzhou-4 spaceship. The craft was launched at a temperature of minus 28 degrees Celsius, which set a new record. During its 7 days in space, the spacecraft opened solar panels, adjusted its positions and realized orbital changes. After finishing all planned experiments, the spacecraft safely returned to Earth.

15 October 2003 - Shenzhou-5 (First manned space mission)
The first manned spacecraft was launched in 2003, with China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, on board. The craft traveled in space for 21 hours and orbited the Earth for 14 times. It landed successfully in Inner Mongolia the next day. China became the world's third country to carry out an independent manned space mission.

12 October 2005 - Shenzhou-6
In 2005, Shenzhou-6 was launched with two astronauts on board, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng. During the flight, Chinese astronauts took off their suits for the first time and conducted activities and experiments on board. It was also the first time that people participated in space experiments. 5 days later, the space craft returned to Earth.

25 September 2008 - Shenzhou-7
China's third manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 blasted off on a Long March-2F carrier rocket from the launch center in the northwestern Gansu Province on Sept. 25 2008, carrying three astronauts to attempt the country’s first-ever spacewalk. Onboard pilots Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng orbited the Earth for about three days, and Zhai became the first Chinese to "set foot" on the outer space on Sept. 27, 2008. With his spacewalk lasted about 20 minutes, China become the third country in the world who is able to conduct extravehicular activity (EVA) in space following the former Soviet Union and the United States.

1 November 2011- Shenzhou-8
China's unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 was launched by a modified Long March-2F carrier rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Nov. 1, 2011. The Shenzhou-8 spacecraft was automatically docked with the Tiangong-1 space module (launched on 29 September 2011) on November 3 and again on November 14, 2011. The success of the docking procedure makes China the third country in the world, after the United States and Russia, to master the technique, moving the country one step closer to establishing its own space station. The Shenzhou-8 spacecraft landed in north China after completing its 49-day space docking mission.

16 June 2012- Shenzhou-9
China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft on a Long March-2F carrier rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on 16 June 2012. Shenzhou 9 docked with China's first space lab Tiangong-1 on 18 June, marking China's first manned spacecraft rendezvous and docking. This docking was remotely controlled from a ground station. After about 3 hours Jing Haipeng entered into Tiangong-1. 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. Shenzhou 9 landed by parachute in Inner Mongolia on 29 June 2012.

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