Jiuquan (China) on Thursday sent three astronauts to its under-construction space station where they will stay for three months. This is China’s first mission in five years in which it has sent a human to space. These astronauts are aboard the spacecraft ‘Shenzhou-12’, which was launched from the North-West Jiuquan Launch Center shortly after 9.22 am.
This vehicle was launched by the Long March-2F rocket. These three passengers are Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo. This is the first Chinese mission to carry astronauts during the construction of the space station. The Chinese space station is likely to be ready by next year.
This mission is completely successful
Zhang Zhifen, director of Jiuquan Launch Center, has informed that information has been received from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center that the Long March 2F rocket has sent the Shenzhou-12 Space Center into a predetermined space orbit. The solar panels of the spacecraft are well exposed. We can say that this mission is completely successful.
This mission is being done in view of the celebrations on the 100th year of the country’s ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) next month. Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, said the astronauts would stay in space for three months during which they would perform repair and maintenance tasks.
This space station will watch the world from the sky to China and will compete with the aging International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is a project of NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
What do we know about the astronauts?
The Chinese authorities kept the identities of the Shenzhou-12 astronauts under wraps until a press conference on Wednesday. Nie Haisheng, 56, is said to be China’s oldest astronaut in space. He is a veteran of two previous flights, which included a 15-day visit in 2013 to the prototype space station, Tiangong-1. This has since been de-orbited.
His crewmates, Liu Boming (54) and Tang Hongbo (45) are also from an air force background. Liu’s earlier spaceflight experience was on the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008 that saw him participate in China’s first-ever spacewalk. Mr. Tang is the rookie on this occasion, having never before gone into orbit. The food, fuel, and equipment the trio will need during their stay aboard Tianhe were delivered by a robotic freighter last month.
This freighter is still attached, and the men will make unpacking its supplies their first task as soon as they’ve settled in. Included in the delivery are two spacesuits they’ll need to conduct spacewalks on the exterior of Tianhe.
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