Join Donate

Jason DavisJune 16, 2012

Shenzhou-9 reaches orbit

China’s fourth human spaceflight mission got underway this morning after a Long March 2F rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 10:37 UTC. Perched atop the launch vehicle were taikonauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang in their Shenzhou-9 spacecraft. Liu Yang is the country’s first female taikonaut, reaching space on the forty-ninth anniversary of cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova’s historic Vostok 6 flight.

Launch video:

Shenzhou-9 reached its preliminary orbit approximately nine minutes, forty-five seconds into flight, as it separated from the Long March 2F's core stage. The spacecraft is expected to dock with Tiangong-1 on Monday, kicking off an expected ten-day aboard China’s first space station.

Photo gallery: Shenzhou-9 crew (Xinhua news agency)
Photo gallery: launch (Xinhua news agency)

Shenzhou-9 crew training

Xinhua news agency / Qin Xian'an

Shenzhou-9 crew training
The crew of Shenzhou-9 trains in a capsule simulator. From left to right: Liu Wang, Jing Haipeng and Liu Yang.

We know you love reading about space exploration, but did you know you can make it happen?

Take our Space Priorities survey and consider a gift to our Space Policy and Advocacy program to fuel more missions, more science, and more exploration.

Read more: Chinese human spaceflight, mission status, human spaceflight

You are here:
Jason Davis headshot v.4
Jason Davis

Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Jason Davis

Comments & Sharing
Mars
Your Space Priorities

Moon or Mars? Low-Earth orbit or deep space? Share your voice for space exploration.

Take Survey

Mars
More Space Exploration

More Missions. More Science. More Exploration. Your support is essential and leads to the joy of discovery.

Donate