A Long March-2F (Long March-2F) rocket with the Shenzhou 12 (“Holy Ark”) spacecraft blasted off from northwest China’s Gansu Province. There are astronauts on board: Ni Hai Sheng, 56, Liu Beoming, 54, and Tang Hongbo, 45.
China is building the Tiangong space station
It is the third of 11 planned space missions aimed at building China’s manned space station Tiangong – the “heavenly palace”. In April, China launched its first and largest module into orbit – Tianhe. This is where the Chinese astronauts will live for the next few weeks.
The objective of this assignment is to further inspect the station’s systems and install its components. Of the 11 space missions related to the construction of the orbital station, four will be operated. The astronauts are scheduled to spend six months in space during the next manned mission.
Since 2003, China has carried out six manned space missions. During this time, 11 astronauts were sent into space.