Beijing, Feb 28: China's new manned spacecraft will be launched sometime between June and August, authorities said.
Three Chinese astronauts will board the Shenzhou-10, which is expected to dock with the
orbiting lab module Tiangong-1, a spokesperson for the office of the country's space manned program said in a statement released Thursday.
The Tiangong-1 was sent into space in September 2011. It later docked with the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft in November 2011, and with the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft in June 2012, reported Xinhua.
After years of testing, the new mission will mark the first formal application of the manned space transportation system, the statement said.
The objectives of the new mission include further assessing the performance of the docking system, the combination's capabilities in supporting life and work, and the abilities of astronauts on the job, according to plans.
Research on astronauts' abilities to adapt to the environment in the space module will also be conducted, in addition to tests on repairing orbiting spacecraft and other key technologies necessary for developing a space station.
China plans to build its own space station around 2020.
During the mission, astronauts will also give science lectures to teenage spectators back on Earth, the statement said.