China Update: Shenzhou 9 Mission to Tiangong 1
Details of china's latest planned astronaut mission have been somwhat obsure to the western media. Initially there was confusion and ambiguity due to reports coming from the Chinese media. With recent clarification, these details have become clearer.
The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft is expected to launch later this summer, probably July or August. It will carry three astronauts (referred to as taikonauts or yuhangyuans) to China's Tiangong 1 space labroatory. The Shenzhou 9 craft will dock with Tiangon 1 for about a week.
Speculation suggests that the crew will be men, and most likely members of the Shenzhou taikonauts who were selected back in 1998.
The strange patterns of confusing claims about Shenzhou 9 seem to have been clariefied with the release of the newest details. The orgin of the previous ambiguity is still under debate, but some speculate it may have been due to internal tensions in the program. Some have even suggested possible opposition from certain managers or even crew.
A great ananlysis of the ambiguity of the Shenzhou program has been discussed by Morris Jones and published on space daily.com.