China’s new space station recorded a landmark today (Thursday) with the arrival of the first three crew members, China’s first manned mission in five years.
The LongF 2F rocket took off this morning with the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft from the launch center in the Gobi Desert in southwest China. On the spacecraft were three astronauts – Nye Hisheng (56) and Liu Booming (54) who had previously participated in manned missions, and Teng Hongbo (45).
All phases of the flight were successful and by noon Shenzhou-12 connected to the core module of the Tainha space station at an altitude of 380 km above the earth. To operate the station alongside scientific missions.
“We need to build our new home in space and explore new technologies,” explained Nye, who serves as mission commander. “So this task is tough and challenging. I believe that if the three of us work closely together and perform tasks accurately, we can overcome the challenges. We have the confidence that we can complete the task.”
The Tineha module, which reaches a length of 16.6 meters, was launched in late April, and the event was accompanied by international drama when there were fears that the remains of the rocket would crash on populated areas, but eventually they fell into the ocean.
A total of 11 launches are planned for the construction of the new space station, which will reach a weight of 66 tons and which is supposed to move in the low orbit around the Earth, at an altitude of 350 to 450 km, for 15 years. Celestial) and Mangtian (Celestial Dreams) – however in the future it will be possible to add three more modules and expand the station.