New breakthrough in China’s space station mission

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This time China has launched an astronaut crew on a six-month space station mission

China has launched a three-man crew for a six-month mission to its space station that plans to set a new record for the time spent in space by Chinese astronauts. Now the country is moving towards completing the circumnavigation framework.

What has been done in this mission?

The Shenzhou-1 spacecraft carrying three astronauts was launched by the Long March-2F rocket at 12:25 a.m. local time on Saturday (Friday 04:25 GMT).

Who is going on this mission?

China's space station

It is expected to complete docking with the Tianhe module in the next six hours, starting the mission that will continue the work of the crew of the first three people who have spent 90 days on board.

Before returning to Earth in mid-September, the crew members operated two spacewalks and deployed a 10-meter (33-foot) mechanical arm.

In this mission, the new crew consists of two experienced space travel soldiers – pilot Zhai Zhigang (55) and the only woman on the mission, Wang Yaping (41) and Ye Guangfu (41), who are making their first spaceflight.

What will they do there?

A military band and supporters were seen singing Odd songs in the motherland, highlighting the national pride invested in China’s space program. The crew’s scheduled activities include station expansion, assessment of living conditions in the module, and up to three spacewalks to place equipment in preparation for experiments in three other areas in space.

China’s military-led space program plans to send more personnel to the station over the next two years to make it fully operational. Shenzhou-1 is the fifth mission of the structure, where travel supplies are provided without crew.

China's space station

When two more modules, Mentian and Ventian, are added, the station will weigh about 6 tons, a fraction of the size of the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998, and will weigh 450 tons when completed.

The two additional Chinese modules are scheduled to be launched before the end of next year with a Shenzhou-1, 14 crew. China’s foreign ministry on Friday renewed its commitment to co-operate with other countries in the peaceful use of space.

History of China’s space mission

Chinese officials say they are waiting for the space station to host astronauts from other countries when it becomes fully operational. China has launched seven crew missions with a total of 14 astronauts since 2003, when it placed its own man in space, the third largest after the former Soviet Union and the United States. Two Chinese astronauts have flown twice in space.

In addition to its crew missions, China has expanded its work to explore the moon and Mars, including setting up rovers exploring the moon and bringing lunar rock to Earth for the first time since 1960.

 

Spokesman Zhao Lijian said sending people into space was a “common cause of mankind” and that China would continue to deepen and expand international cooperation and exchanges in cruise-based spacecraft and make a positive contribution to the investigation of its mysteries.

What is the opinion of the Chinese government?China's space station

China was expelled from the International Space Station over US objections to the secrecy of China’s program and close military ties, prompting calls for the launch of two test modules before launching into a permanent station.

U.S. law requires congressional approval for communication between American and Chinese space programs, but China is cooperating with space experts from countries including France, Sweden, Russia and Italy.

China has landed its Tianwen-1 space probe on Mars this year, with its Zhurong rover looking for evidence of life on the red planet. Other Chinese space programs have called for collecting soil from an asteroid and retrieving extra lunar samples.

China has expressed a desire to send humans to the moon and possibly build a scientific base there, although no timeline has been proposed for such a project. A highly secretive spacecraft is also reportedly being developed.

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