The three astronauts will spend six months in orbit.

It will be the longest time spent by Chinese astronauts in space so far. The earlier shift at the fledgling Chinese terminal lasted for three months, from June to September.

The Long March 2F rocket, which launched the Shenzhou 13 (“heavenly ship”) spacecraft with astronauts on board, took off from the Jiuquan spacecraft in the Gobi Desert in northwest China after midnight Friday to Saturday local time (4:23 p.m.). CET (Friday in Poland).

As part of a manned mission, a woman named Wang Yaping flew to the Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”) space station built in China for the first time. In addition to her, the expedition’s crew consisted of two Taikong pioneers, Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu.

The crew will make three rounds of space to install equipment in preparation for the expansion of the station. He will also conduct several experiments, incl. medical.

China is building its own space station, including because, due to opposition, the United States has been denied access to the International Space Station (ISS), which has been in operation for more than 20 years. For many Chinese, space missions are also evidence of their country’s great power status.

The construction of the Tiangong station is one of the many space projects that China is currently implementing. Chinese scientists also plan to build, along with Russia, a research station on the Moon and send a number of unmanned missions there over the next decade.

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