China successfully launches Shenzhou-12 spacecraft with three-men crew to new space station
Beijing : China on Thursday successfully launched its first crew mission in five years. Spacecraft Shenzhou-12 with three astronauts on board blasted off for its space station’s core module Tianhe for a three-month mission.
Spacecraft Shenzhou-12 on top of a Long March-2F carrier rocket, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China’s Gobi Desert. The launch was live broadcasted on the state-run CGTN-TV.
After a few minutes of the launch, the mission control announced it to be a success.
It is China’s seventh crewed mission to space and the first during the construction of China’s space station, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
The last manned mission by China was in 2016.
The three astronauts who have gone to the space are Nie Haisheng, a 56-year-old veteran who participated in the Shenzhou-6 and Shenzhou-10 missions, Liu Boming, 54, who was part of the Shenzhou-7 mission, and Tang Hongbo, 45, who is in his first space mission.
They are likely to create a new record in China with their stay duration, which is of maximum 33 days by the Shenzhou-11 crew in 2016.
In 2016, two male astronauts — Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng — were sent via the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft to Tiangong-2, a prototype of the space station where they later stayed for about a month.