Shenzhou 9 (Chinese: 神舟九号) was the fourth crewed spacecraft flight of China's Shenzhou program, launched at 18:37:24 CST (10:37:24 UTC), 16 June 2012. Shenzhou 9 was the second spacecraft and first crewed mission and expedition to dock with the Tiangong-1 space station, which took place on 18 June. The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft landed at 10:01:16 CST (02:01:16 UTC) on 29 June in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The mission's crew included the first Chinese female astronaut, Liu Yang. The next mission was Shenzhou 10, which launched on 11 June 2013.[1]

Shenzhou 9
Tiangong 1 drawing.png
Diagram depicting Shenzhou 9 (right) docked with Tiangong-1 (left)
COSPAR ID2012-032A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.38461
Mission duration12 days, 15 hours and 25 minutes
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeShenzhou
Crew size3
MembersJing Haipeng
Liu Wang
Liu Yang
Start of mission
Launch date16 June 2012, 10:37:24 (2012-06-16UTC10:37:24Z) UTC
RocketLong March 2F
Launch siteJiuquan LA-4/SLS-1
End of mission
Landing date29 June 2012, 02:01:16 (2012-06-29UTC02:01:17Z) UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Docking with Tiangong-1
Docking date18 June 2012, 06:07 UTC
Undocking date24 June 2012, 03:08 UTC
Time docked3 days, 21 hours, 1 minute
Docking with Tiangong-1
Docking date24 June 2012, 04:38 UTC
Undocking date28 June 2012, 01:22 UTC
Time docked3 days, 20 hours, 44 minutes
Shenzhou 9 crew.jpg
(l-r) Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang, and Liu Yang 


On 12 March 2012, it was announced that the initial crew selection roster for the mission included female astronauts.[2] The crew were unveiled to the press on 15 June. China's first female astronaut would be Liu Yang. Liu was selected ahead of her fellow female astronaut prospect Wang Yaping.[3] This mission also featured the first repeat astronaut, Jing Haipeng, the commander of the mission.[4] Shenzhou 9 was the 9th flight in China's Shenzhou program and the fourth crewed spaceflight. The mission's launch was 49 years to the day after that of the first woman in space, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.[3]

Mission preparationsEdit

The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft arrived at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gobi Desert on 9 April 2012 and its carrier rocket, the Long March 2F, arrived on 9 May.[5] On 9 June 2012, the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and its carrier rocket were rolled out to launch pad.[6] On 12 June 2012 underwent system-wide joint exercises, and final health checks were completed the following day.

Expedition ceremonyEdit

On 16 June 2012, the expedition ceremony was held at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. National People's Congress Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo attended the ceremony. The astronauts, Liu Wang, Liu Yang, and Jing Haipeng, rode to the launch tower and turned in the entrance with the assistance of support staff.[7]


The Long March 2F rocket was launched on 16 June 2012 at 10:37 UTC.

Shenzhou 9 docked with China's first space lab Tiangong-1 at 06:07 UTC on 18 June, marking China's first crewed spacecraft rendezvous and docking.[8][9] This docking was remotely controlled from a ground station.[10] After about 3 hours, when the pressures inside the vessels were equalized, Jing Haipeng entered into Tiangong-1.[11] 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.[10]

Shenzhou 9 landed by parachute in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia on 29 June 2012.[12]


Position Crew member
Commander Jing Haipeng[3]
Second spaceflight
First Chinese astronaut to fly more than once in space[3]
Operator Liu Wang[3]
First spaceflight
Laboratory Assistant Liu Yang[3]
First spaceflight
First Chinese woman in space[3]

Backup crewEdit

The backup crew for the flight was:[13]

Position Crew member
Commander Nie Haisheng
Operator Zhang Xiaoguang
Laboratory Assistant Wang Yaping

The backup crew later became the prime crew for Shenzhou 10.[14]

Mission timelineEdit

9 April 2012
  • Shenzhou 9 space capsule arrives at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center[5]
9 May 2012
9 June 2012
  • Launch stack rolled out to the launch pad[6]
15 June 2012
  • Crew unveiled[3]
16 June 2012
  • Launch, first woman in space for the Chinese program, first repeat traveller for the Chinese program, first crewed mission to a space station for the Chinese program[3]
18 June 2012
  • First crewed rendezvous for the Chinese space program.
  • Automated docking with Tiangong-1, first crewed docking by the Chinese program[8]
24 June 2012
  • Shenzhou 9 undocks with Tiangong-1[10]
  • Shenzhou 9 redocks with Tiangong-1, first manual docking by the Chinese space program,[10] second crewed docking by the program
29 June 2012

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "China Completes Tiangong-1 Space Module". 18 August 2010. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  2. ^ Xue, Meng, ed. (12 March 2012). "Shenzhou-9 may take female astronaut to space: official". People's Daily. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Moskowitz, Clara (15 June 2012). "China Unveils Astronaut Crew, 1st Female Spaceflyer, for Saturday Launch". Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  4. ^ "China astronauts complete successful space docking". Reuters. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b Mu, Xuequan, ed. (9 April 2012). "Shenzhou-9 spacecraft delivered to launch center". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "China to launch manned spacecraft this month". Business Line. Press Trust of India. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  7. ^ Yao, Peishuo, ed. (16 June 2012). 神九发射在即航天员已进入飞船舱内 (in Chinese). China News Service. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b Barbosa, Rui C. (18 June 2012). "China's Shenzhou-9 successfully docks with Tiangong-1". Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  9. ^ "China Will Conduct its First Manned Space Rendezvous and Docking Mission". China Manned Space Engineering Office. 10 June 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d "Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou 9 makes first manual docking with space module". The Guardian. Associated Press. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  11. ^ Xin, Dingding (19 June 2012). "China successfully completes space docking". China Daily. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  12. ^ a b "China's Shenzhou-9 crew returns to Earth after history-making trip". NBC News. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  13. ^ Jones, Morris (3 April 2013). "Shenzhou's Shadow Crew". Space Daily. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Astronauts of Shenzhou-10 mission meet press". Space Daily. Xinhua News Agency. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2021.

External linksEdit