Addis Ababa, June 17, 2021 (Walta) – China has launched three astronauts into orbit to begin the occupation of the country’s new space station.
The three men – Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo – are to spend three months aboard the Tianhe module some 380km (236 miles) above the Earth.
It will be China’s longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years.
On Thursday, their Shenzhou-12 capsule successfully took off atop its Long March 2F rocket.
The lift-off from the Jiuquan satellite launch center in the Gobi desert was at 09:22 Beijing time (01:22 GMT).
The launch and subsequent mission are other demonstrations of China’s growing confidence and capability in the space domain.
In the past six months, the country has returned rock and soil samples to Earth from the surface of the Moon and landed a six-wheeled robot on Mars – both highly complex and challenging endeavors.
According to BBC, the primary objective for Commander Nie Haisheng and his team on the Shenzhou-12 mission is to bring the 22.5-tonne Tianhe module into service.