Historic Spacecraft Shenzhou orbiting Earth

Chinese Spacecraft

Chinese Shenzhou 9 illustration
Shenzhou Spacecraft

Shenzhou Spacecraft

Developed with Russian technical assistance, the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft borrows several design characteristics from the Soyuz spacecraft. It consists of an orbital module, descent module, and service module. The Shenzhou can carry a crew of three and is larger than Soyuz.

Completed Shenzhou Missions
NameLaunch
Date
RocketCrewMission
Objective
Shenzhou 1 19NOV1999 CZ-2F 0Test flight of Shenzhou capsule.
Shenzhou 2 9JAN2001 CZ-2F 0Test flight of Shenzhou capsule.
Shenzhou 3 25MAR2002 CZ-2F 0Test flight of Shenzhou capsule.
Shenzhou 4 29DEC2002 CZ-2F 0Test flight of Shenzhou capsule.
Shenzhou 5 15OCT2003 CZ-2F 1First Chinese human orbital flight
Shenzhou 6 12OCT2005 CZ-2F 2Orbital flight with two crewmembers.
Shenzhou 7 25SEP2008 CZ-2F 3First Chinese space walk.
Three person crew.
Shenzhou 8 31OCT2011 CZ-2F 0Unmanned test flight including automatic
rendezvous and docking with Tiangong 1.
Shenzhou 9 16JUN2012 CZ-2F 3Rendezvous and docking with Tiangong 1 space laboratory.
First Chinese woman in space.
Shenzhou 1011JUN2013 CZ-2F 3Rendezvous and docking with Tiangong 1 space laboratory.

Chinese Tiangong and Shenzhou 9 illustration
Tiangong-1 (left) and Shenzhou 9 (right).

First Chinese Crewed Docking

The unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft docked with the Tiangong 1 space laboratory module in 2011. Shenzhou 9, with a three person crew, docked with Tiangong 1 in June of 2012.

Chinese Tiangong 1 illustration
Tiangong 1 Space Module

Tiangong Space Laboratory Modules

The Tiangong -1 module, launched in 2011, is a prototype space station module. Both the Shenzhou 8 and Shenzhou 9 spacecraft have docked with the module in orbit. Tiangong modules may eventually be used as resupply ships and expansion modules for a modular Chinese space station built later in the decade.

Tiangong Modules
PayloadLaunch
Date
RocketMission
Notes
Tiangong 1 29SEP2011 CZ-2F/G Test module for Chinese space station program.
Visited by both Shenzhou 8 and 9.

Rockets Supporting the Chinese Human Spaceflight Program

Chinese CZ-2F rocket illustration

CZ-2F

Developed from the CZ-2E launcher, the CZ-2F is used to launch the Shenzhou spacecraft.

The CZ-2F launcher is a two-stage rocket with four strap-on boosters. Both stages use N2O4 and UDMH as propellants. All CZ-2F flights are launched from Jiuquan launch center in Gansu province.


Chinese CZ-2F/G rocket illustration

CZ-2F/G

The CZ-2F/G rocket first flew on 29 September 2011. The launch was successful and delivered the Tiangong 1 space station module to orbit.

The CZ-2F/G launcher is a two-stage rocket with four strap-on boosters. Both stages use N2O4 and UDMH as propellants. CZ-2F rockets are launched from Jiuquan launch center in Gansu province.

References

China Great Wall Industry Corporation

Creative Commons License Images by Richard Kruse are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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