Dthree Chinese astronauts have made their way to China’s under construction Space station made. A spaceship with astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo on board took off from the Jiuquan space station in the Gobi desert on Thursday morning. The trip is the first manned Chinese space mission in five years.
Chinese state television showed live images of the launch and the spaceship as it unfolded its sun wings about 15 minutes later in orbit. The astronauts opened their helmet visors and waved at the camera. In the next step, the coupling with the core module of the new “Tiangong” space station is expected.
During their stay in space, the astronauts, who are led by the 56-year-old commander Nie Haisheng, are supposed to carry out work at the station, test important functions of the core module and also carry out scientific experiments.
Planned stay of three months
While Nie Haisheng and 54-year-old Lio Boming are among the most experienced astronauts in China, this is the first flight for 45-year-old Tang Hongbo. If they stay on the station for three months as planned, it would be the longest stay of Chinese astronauts in space to date. In 2016, the Chinese Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng spent a month in space.
The first module of the “Tiangong”, which should be ready by the end of 2022, was sent into space at the beginning of May. Another cargo flight with material and fuel followed at the end of May. To complete the space station, two more laboratory modules, each weighing a good 20 tons, will be brought into space. Two more cargo flights and two manned missions are planned for the next year.
If the international space station ISS goes out of operation as planned in the next few years, China would be the only country that still operates a permanent outpost in space.