China Set to Launch Manned Mission to Space Station
What’s new: China is readying itself for a June launch of its Shenzhou-12, rolling out the spacecraft and a Long March-2F rocket to the launch pad on Wednesday, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).
If successful, the Shenzhou-12 mission will be the first crewed flight to China’s new space station and the seventh crewed Chinese spaceflight since 2003, the CMSEO said.
The rocket, designed to carry the spacecraft into orbit, lies in waiting at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the CMSEO said, adding that the facilities and equipment on site are in good working order.
The spacecraft will carry three astronauts to Tianhe, China’s core space station module, where they will spend three months carrying out tasks including extravehicular maintenance and equipment replacement.
The background: China launched the core module of space station Tianhe on April 26 from the southern province of Hainan. According to Bloomberg, its cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2 successfully docked with Tianhe in late May.
The Tianzhou-2 spacecraft brought supplies, including astronaut food, as well as equipment and propellant, according to state-run broadcaster CGTN.
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