China launches three astronauts in a six-month space station mission

In this photo released by Xinhua News, the crew member Shenzhou 13 on the Long March 2 carrier rocket was launched from the Kyusen Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in northwestern China on October 16, 2021. rice field.Credit: Xinhua News Agency via Li Gang / AP

China sent three astronauts to the space station on Saturday for a record six-month stay.

The Shenzhou 13 spacecraft carrying three astronauts was launched by the Long March 2 rocket at 12:25 am on Saturday.

Two men and one woman are second crew To move to space station, Was released in April last year. The first crew stayed for 3 months.

The new crew includes two veterans of space travel. Zhai Zhigang (55 years old), Wang Yaping (41 years old), Ye Guangfu (41 years old) who are traveling in space for the first time.

The crew was sent off by the military band and supporters singing “Ode to the Motherland,” emphasizing the weight of the pride of the people invested in China. Space plan It has been progressing rapidly in recent years.

We will carry out extravehicular activities three times, install equipment in preparation for the expansion of the station, evaluate the living conditions of the Tenwa module, and conduct experiments such as space medicine.

China’s military-operated space program plans to send multiple crew members to the station over the next two years to make the station fully functional.

Completed with the addition of two sections named Mengtian and Wentian, the station weighs approximately 66 tonnes. This is a fraction of the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998, and weighs about 450 tonnes when completed.

China launches three astronauts in a six-month space station mission

From left, Chinese astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping, and Ye Guangfu hand before leaving for the Shenzhou 13 crew space mission at the Kyusen Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China on October 15, 2021. I’m shaking. The Chinese astronaut crew renewed their commitment to international cooperation in the peaceful use of space on Friday. (Chinatopix via AP) CHINA OUT

Two additional Chinese modules will be available by the end of next year during the stay of the unnamed Shenzhou 14 crew.

On Friday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs renewed its commitment to cooperating with other countries in the peaceful use of space.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson, said that manned space flight is a “common cause of humankind,” and that China “continues to expand the depth and breadth of international cooperation and exchange” in manned space flight, and “actively explores the mysteries of space flight.” Contribute to. ” universe. “

China was excluded from the International Space Station and was urged to start two experimental modules before starting at the permanent station, primarily due to the secret nature of China’s program and US opposition to close military ties.

US law requires parliamentary approval for communication between the US and China’s space programs, but China works with space experts from countries such as France, Sweden, Russia, and Italy.Chinese officials said they were looking forward to embarking astronauts from other countries. Space station Once it’s fully functional.

Since 2003, when China became the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States, it has launched seven manned missions carrying a total of 14 astronauts. Two Chinese astronauts flew twice.

China has also expanded its work on lunar and Mars exploration, including placing rover behind the moon and returning moon rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

China has landed the Tianwen-1 spacecraft on Mars this year. On Mars, the accompanying Zhurong Rover was looking for evidence of life on the Red Planet.

Other Chinese space programs require soil to be collected from asteroids and additional lunar samples to be brought back. China has also expressed its desire to land people on the moon and perhaps build a scientific foundation there, but no timeline for such a project has been proposed. A very secret spaceplane is also reported to be under development.

China renews space cooperation pledge with latest mission

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China launches three astronauts in a six-month space station mission

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