China launches mission to finish area station meeting

BEIJING (AP) — China on Sunday launched a brand new three-person mission to finish meeting work on its everlasting orbiting area station.

The Shenzhou 14 crew will spend six months on the Tiangong station, throughout which they are going to oversee the addition of two laboratory modules to affix the principle Tianhe residing area that was launched in April 2021.

Their spaceship blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the sting of the Gobi Desert at 10:44 a.m. (0244 GMT) atop the crewed area flight program’s workhorse Long March 2F rocket. Fifteen minutes later, it reached low Earth orbit and opened its photo voltaic panels, drawing applause from floor controllers in Jiuquan and Beijing.

The launch was broadcast dwell on state tv, indicating a rising degree of confidence within the capabilities of the area program, which has been promoted as an indication of China’s technological progress and international affect.

Commander Chen Dong and fellow astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe will assemble the three-module construction becoming a member of the prevailing Tianhe with Wentian and Mengtian, resulting from arrive in July and October. Another cargo craft, the Tianzhou-3, stays docked with the station.

The arrival of the brand new modules will “provide more stability, more powerful functions, more complete equipment,” mentioned Chen, 43, who was a member of the Shenzhou 11 mission in 2016, at a press convention Saturday.

Liu, 43, can be an area veteran and was China’s first feminine astronaut to achieve area aboard the Shenzhou 9 mission in 2012. Cai, 46, is making his first area journey.

China’s area program launched its first astronaut into orbit in 2003, making it solely the third nation to take action by itself after the previous Soviet Union and the U.S.

It has landed robotic rovers on the moon and positioned one on Mars final 12 months. China has additionally returned lunar samples and officers have mentioned a attainable crewed mission to the moon.

China’s area program is run by the ruling Communist Party’s army wing, the People’s Liberation Army, prompting the U.S. to exclude it from the International Space Station.

Chen, Liu and Cai shall be joined on the finish of their mission for 3 to 5 days by the crew of the upcoming Shenzhou 15, marking the primary time the station may have had six individuals aboard.

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