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China launches space mission for ‘cutting-edge' experiments

Shenzhou-18 spaceship carrying 3 astronauts will stay in orbit for 6 months

10:24 - 26/04/2024 Cuma
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File photo
File photo

China launched a six-month space mission Thursday with three astronauts, state media reported.

The Shenzhou-18 spaceship lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center atop a Long March 2F rocket at 8.59 p.m. Beijing time and headed for the Tiangong space station, Xinhua News reported, citing the China Manned Space Agency.

Earlier, a sending-off ceremony for the three taikonauts, the term used for Chinese astronauts, was held at the center.

After entering orbit, the Shenzhou-18 spaceship will perform a fast automated rendezvous and docking with the radial port of the space station's core module Tianhe, which will take about 6.5 hours.

Astronauts Ye Guangfu, Li Cong and Li Guangsu will remain in orbit for six months and are scheduled to return to the Dongfeng landing site in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in late October this year.

During the mission, the astronauts' main jobs will be space experiments and tests in cutting-edge fields such as aerospace medicine, basic physics, material science and life science.

The Shenzhou-17 crew has stayed in the orbiting Tiangong space station for nearly six months and is preparing for the arrival of the Shenzhou-18 crew.

Shenzhou-18 is the 32nd flight mission of China's manned space program and the third manned mission during the application and development stage of China's space station.

#China
#Shenzhou-18
#space
#Tiangong space station
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