China may soon join only the U.S. and Russia in launching a manned space flight in mid-June that docks with another craft in space.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua News is reporting that the launch of the Shenzhou-9 crew module will happen around June 17th. The space lab is already in orbit, having been launched last September.
This is China’s first attempt at a manned mission to space to dock with an orbiter.
China has been increasing its space and defense budgets by as much as 40% in an effort to gain independence for its own space interests.