China has launched its most ambitious space mission yet in which its first female astronaut and two male colleagues will attempt to dock with an orbiting space station module.
The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft lifted off as scheduled at 6:37 p.m. from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert in China’s northwest.
After the rendezvous with the Tiangon-1 space lab module, two of the astronauts will move into the space station where they will perform scientific experiments before returning to Earth. Beijing says the mission will last 10 days.
China’s last manned space mission took place in September of 2009.