June 29th 2012 - 03:20 UTC

All three astronauts are now outside the capsule in chairs getting used to the gravity on their bodies.

June 29th 2012 - 02:30 UTC

The ground crews are working to help the astronauts exit the capsule which has landed on it's side.

June 29th 2012 - 02:02 UTC

Touchdown! The Shenzhou 9 has landed successfully in the Inner Mongolia region of China.

June 29th 2012 - 01:52 UTC

The heat shield has come off on time at around 5.8km.

June 29th 2012 - 01:50 UTC

The main parachutes have opened at 10km.

June 29th 2012 - 01:37 UTC

The re-entry module with the astronauts inside has now separated from the propulsion module.

June 29th 2012 - 01:20 UTC

The Orbital Module has separated from the Re-entry module on time which was quickly followed by the de-orbit burn. Shenzhou 9 is now officially on it's way home.

June 28th 2012 - 01:40 UTC

Chinese astronaut Liu Wang guided Shenzhou 9 away from Tiangong-1 today as all three astronauts prepare to return home tomorrow, June 29th. Tomorrow the orbital module of the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft will separate at 01:13 UTC, The orbital module contains the docking mechanisms that were used to link to Tiangong -1. The de-orbit burn will then occur a minute later at 01:14 UTC. The descent module will separate from the service module at 01:36 UTC with a landing of the descent module occurring at 02:01 UTC. The instrument module contains engines, solar panels, life support systems and fuel tanks needed for in-orbit operation and will burn up in the atmosphere, the descent module is the only part of the spacecraft that returns to Earth and contains seats for each of the three astronauts.

June 24th 2012 - 04:49 UTC

The next major milestone of this mission will be on Thursday 28th when the Shenzhou 9 will undock from Tiangong-1 for the final time. Around 10am Bejing time on Friday 29th they will then conduct a de-orbit burn and land their spacecraft back on Earth ending the mission.

June 24th 2012 - 04:49 UTC

Docking confirmed! China have conducted their first ever manual docking in Space.

June 24th 2012 - 04:47 UTC

10 meters.

June 24th 2012 - 04:46 UTC

The two vehicles are now at 20 meters.

June 24th 2012 - 04:41 UTC

The current distance between the vehicles is 100 meters.

June 24th 2012 - 04:37 UTC

Manual control has been enabled on the Shenzhou 9 Spacecraft.

June 24th 2012 - 04:35 UTC

Chinese astronaut Yiu Wang will be the one who will perform the manual docking, Operations for docking are just beginning.

June 24th 2012 - 04:15 UTC

Shenzhou 9 undocked at 03:15 UTC and is holding at 150 meters. The manual docking attempt is due to begin in 30 minutes.

June 17th 2012 - 09:30 UTC

The female astronaut Liu Yang is now inside the craft as all three take a moment to wave at the cameras.

June 17th 2012 - 09:05 UTC

The two male astronauts are now inside Tiangong-1 and are checking out the equipment.

June 17th 2012 - 06:30 UTC

Crews on board have been given a go to open the hatches between the descent module and entry module of their Shenzhou 9 spacecraft.

June 17th 2012 - 06:08 UTC

DOCKING! Capture confirmed between Shenzhou 9 and Tiangong-1.

June 16th 2012 - 12:50 UTC

Video of the entire launch is now available at the bottom of this page.

June 16th 2012 - 10:49 UTC

On board cameras show the solar panels deploying!

June 16th 2012 - 10:47 UTC

The Shenzhou 9 has separated from the second stage as expected, The vehicle is in orbit! The next activity will be the deployment of the spacecrafts solar arrays.

June 16th 2012 - 10:44 UTC

The radar and optical trackers confirm the vehicle is flying normally.

June 16th 2012 - 10:41 UTC

The payload fairing has separated, the astronauts are now able to see the sky out of the spacecraft windows.

June 16th 2012 - 10:40 UTC

The boosters and first stage have separated having used up their propellents, Now the second stage is burning.

June 16th 2012 - 10:39 UTC

The escape tower has jettisoned from atop the capsule, This is no longer required.

June 16th 2012 - 10:38 UTC

Long range cameras show clear close up views of the vehicle as it continues on it's journey.

June 16th 2012 - 10:37 UTC

The rocket has lifted off!

June 16th 2012 - 10:36 UTC

The umbilical arms are now retracting.

June 16th 2012 - 10:35 UTC

T-2 minutes and counting.

June 16th 2012 - 10:27 UTC

The launch countdown is entering T-10 minutes. The ground crew are leaving the complex.

June 16th 2012 - 10:15 UTC

The entire Long March 2F rocket is now visible in the beautiful weather at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

June 16th 2012 - 10:11 UTC

The final launch gantry is now moving away from the rocket, The countdown is going well and is just reaching T-25 minutes.

June 16th 2012 - 10:10 UTC

The lower and second stages of the rocket are now visible, The Shenzhou spacecraft is still covered by a third enclosure gantry.

June 16th 2012 - 10:05 UTC

The middle gantry is now opening up from the rocket.

June 16th 2012 - 09:55 UTC

The large launch gantry is opening up from around the lower portion of the Long March 2F rocket.

June 16th 2012 - 09:45 UTC

Weather is looking very good for launch, Constraints are no thunderstorms or cloud cover and a wind limit of 15m/s which are not a problem for today.

June 16th 2012 - 09:15 UTC

The three Chinese astronauts are inside the Shenzhou-9 Spacecraft, Everything is on track for this mornings launch.

June 15th 2012 - 11:00 UTC

An official launch time of 10:37 UTC tomorrow, June 16th 2012, has been announced. Astronauts onboard are Jing Haipeng, Liu Yang and Liu Wang.

June 9th 2012 - 08:30 UTC

The 58.3 meter tall Long March 2F rocket topped off with the Shenzhou 9 Spacecraft were rolled out to the launch pad today at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in China. The rocket rolled via the 1500 meters of rail from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to Launch Area 4 of JSLC.

The mission will have quite a few highlights for the Chinese Space Program, it will be the first manual rendezvous and docking in space with astronauts onboard. Shenzhou 8, the unmanned Spacecraft last year became the first Chinese craft to automatically dock in Space, China state a manual docking has more chance of success versus a automated docking.

Shenzhou 9 will bring the first ever female astronaut into space, the mission will also be China's longest with the astronauts expected to stay in the Tiangong-1 Space Lab-Shenzhou 9 docked complex for 10 to 20 days. The previous manned missions lasted 21 hours for Shenzhou 5, 4 days for Shenzhou 6 and 3 days for Shenzhou 7.

June 5th 2012 - 18:00 UTC

Chinese media report a launch date of June 16th at 10:41 UTC.

May 22nd 2012 - 13:00 UTC

The third manned Chinese space mission, Shenzhou 9 will send 3 Chinese astronauts or 'taikonauts' to the Tiangong-1 Spacelab module which launched last year on September 29th 2011. After Shenzhou 8 successfully tested docking, unmanned, on November 2nd 2011, This mission will be the ultimate test for China's Space Station plans as Shenzhou 9 will dock with Tiangong-1 and over around 10 days the 3 astronauts will perform experiments inside the module.

Launch will occur from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on a Long March 2F rocket. The rocket was completed around the May 5th this year and is the only rocket used to launch manned Shenzhou spacecraft.

The Shenzhou Spacecraft is very similar to the Russian Soyuz Spacecraft and has flown 8 times the last time was last year on October 31st as it tested docking operations with Tiangong-1. The last manned flight of Shenzhou was Shenzhou 7 on September 25th 2008 and during the three day mission the 3 member crew performed the first Chinese Spacewalk (EVA).

The crew for Shenzhou 9 are to include 2 males and the first female Chinese astronaut. Launch is set for no earlier than June 17th this year, The Chinese will then launch another manned Shenzhou, Shenzhou 10 this year which will be the final mission to Tiangong-1 before it is de-orbited. Tiangong-1 is a small module and is simply testing concepts for a larger Space Station, when de-orbited the Chinese will launch Tiangong-2 which is designed to support short expeditions of crew as well as unmanned cargo missions to supply cargo.