The space agency of China on June 9, 2012 said that it will be launching astronauts later in the month of June to perform the country’s first manned space docking. This is the latest step in the country’s ambition for space exploration.

China’s official news agency, Xinhua says that the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft will dock with the Tiangong 1 orbital module in the month of June. However the government has not given any idea about how long the mission would last.

The deputy commander in chief of the country, Niu Hongguang whilw talking about the manned space programme said that three person crew will be deployed which may also include female astronauts. But the decision will be taken on the very last condition.

On June 9, 2012 the spacecraft along with the carrier rocket were taken to the launch platform at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, which is a rocket launching complex in the Gobi Desert in north western China. One crew member will remain at the Shenzhou 9 as a precautionary measure while the others will enter the orbital module. Last December Beijing announced a five year plan for space exploration which includes launching a space lab and collecting samples for the moon by 2016.