China launched a spacecraft on Thursday carrying three astronauts to a part of a space station nonetheless underneath development for the longest keep in low Earth orbit by any Chinese nationwide.
A Long March 2F rocket transporting the Shenzhou-12, or “Divine Vessel”, certain for the space station module Tianhe blasted off at 9:22am Beijing time (01:22 GMT) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern Gansu province.
Shenzhou-12 is the third of 11 missions – 4 of which can be crewed – wanted to full China’s first full-fledged space station. Construction started in April with the launch of Tianhe, the first and largest of three modules.
The astronauts Nie Haisheng, 56, Liu Boming, 54, and Tang Hongbo, 45, are to work and keep on Tianhe, the dwelling quarters of the longer term space station, for 3 months.
Since 2003, China has launched six crewed missions and despatched 11 astronauts into space, together with Zhai Zhigang, who carried out China’s first spacewalk ever on the 2008 Shenzhou mission.