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Chinese space lab ready to receive astronauts


15:59, June 15, 2012

Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, makes remarks at a press conference held by China's manned space docking program headquarters at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, June 15, 2012. The Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft will be launched at 6:37 p.m. (1037 GMT) on June 16, 2012. Three astronauts, two male and one female, will board China's fourth manned spacecraft to fulfill the country's first manned space docking mission. They are Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang who is female, according to the headquarters. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

JIUQUAN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Latest inspection shows the Tiangong-1 lab module is ready for China's first manned space docking mission, said Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program on Friday.

The docking equipment is working normally and the environmental monitoring is being performed properly. The space lab has sufficient propellants to support the docking, said Wu at a press conference at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The Tiangong-1 lab module is orbiting 343 km above the Earth. The control systems that stabilize the module and keep its solar panels pointing toward the sun, are functioning normally, she said.

The Tiangong-1 lab module was launched Sept. 29, 2011. It has been in orbit for about 260 days. After completing the country's first auto space docking mission, the module went into long-term operation on Nov. 17 last year.

It has since completed tasks such as orbit maintenance, equipment inspection and toxic gas detection, and carried out related scientific experiments, the spokeswoman said.

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