Shenzhou Spacecraft


Shenzhou is a Chinese Spacecraft with manned capabilities. Shenzhou means Divine Ship (God Vessel or Magic Vessel). It is launched on a Long March 2F booster from Jiuquan.

Shenzhou resembles the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. It is composed of three parts: the orbital module at the front end, the re-entry capsule in the middle, and the service module at the base.

Shenzhou Spacecraft


Length: 9.25 m
Diameter: 2.80 m
Volume: 14.00 m³
Total mass: 7,840 kg

Brief History

The first launch of the Shenzhou Spacecraft was 19 November, 1999. It orbited around the Earth 14 times before it landed under parachute within Inner Mongolia, 21 hours after liftoff.

The second flight of Shenzhou 2 was on the 9th January, 2001. It carried a monkey, a dog and a rabbit.

Shenzou 3 was launched on the 25th, March 2002.

Shenzhou 4 was the last unmanned test of the spacecraft. It carried a test dummy and performed several science experiments. It was on launched on December 29, 2002.

Yang Liwei was the China’s first astronaut in space (Taikonaut). He was launched on Shenzhou 5 on October 15, 2003.

Shenzhou 6 was China’ second manned mission. It was launched on October 12, 2005. 

Shenzhou 7 was launched on 25 September 2008. The mission featured the first Chinese Space Walk.

Shenzhou 8 was launched on October 31, 2011. The unmanned spacecraft performed China’s first space docking (with the Tiangong 1 space module).

Shenzhou 9 performed China’s first manned docking (with the Tiangong 1 module) in 2012. 

Shenzhou 10: Launched on 11 June, 2013 to Tiangong 1.

Shenzhou 11: First manned mission to Tiangong-2. Launched on 17 October, 2016.

Shenzhou 12: Flight in 2017/2018.

Space Books

  • The Chinese Space Programme: From Conception to Future Capabilities by Brian Harvey from
  • The Chinese Space Program: A Mystery Within a Maze (Orbit: A Foundation Series)
    by Joan Johnson-Freese from and

Also try space books section – it is great for second hand books or even auction sites like and

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