China To Launch Crewed Mission Tomorrow To Build Space Station

China launches manned mission to build space station tomorrow

The new Chinese space station will have a designed life of ten years. (File)


China will launch a spacecraft with three astronauts on Sunday to the core module of the unfinished Chinese space station, where they will work and live for six months as construction moves into advanced stages.

A Long March-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft will launch Sunday at 10:44 a.m. local time (0244 GMT) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu province, a China Manned Space Agency official told a press conference on Saturday.

Mission Commander Chen Dong will be accompanied by Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe aboard Shenzhou, which means “Divine Vessel” in Chinese.

“All preparations for the launch are basically ready,” said Lin Xiqiang, an agency official.

Shenzhou-14 will be the third of four manned missions — and the seventh of a total of 11 missions — needed to complete the space station by the end of the year.

China began construction of its three-module space station in April 2021 with the launch of Tianhe – the first and largest of the station’s three modules.

Tianhe, slightly larger than a metrobus, will become the living quarters of visiting astronauts once the T-shaped space station is completed.

After Shenzhou-14, the remaining two modules – the Wentian and Mengtian lab booths – will be launched in July and October respectively.

Wentian will have a robotic arm, an airlock cabin for out-of-station travel and living quarters for an additional three astronauts during crew changes.

The Shenzhou-14 crew will help set up Wentian and Mengtian and conduct functionality testing on both modules.

The space station will have a designed life of ten years. At 180 tons, it will be slightly heavier than Russia’s decommissioned Mir, and about 20% of the International Space Station by mass.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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