For the longest stay in low Earth orbit by any Chinese national, a spacecraft carrying three astronauts was launched by China to part of a space station still under construction on Thursday. Bound for the space station module Tianhe, a Long March 2F rocket transporting the Shenzhou-12 blasted off at 9:22 am Beijing Time from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu province.
For the need to complete China’s first full-fledged space station, Shenzhou-12 is the third of 11 missions among which four shall be crewed. With the launch of Tianhe, the first and largest of all three modules, the construction of the space station began on 1st April. The living quarters of the future space station shall be occupied for three months by the astronauts Nie Haisheng, 56, Liu Boming, 54 and Tang Hongbo, 45.
The astronaut’s fare in space physically and psychologically shall be monitored for an extended period. Another upcoming space mission shall be lasting for six months. As a bastion of stability and a teacher figure who constantly challenges others with tough questions, Nie Haisheng astronaut has been hailed by his team.
Liu Boming also belongs to the first batch of astronauts selected in the 1990s for China’s space programme while Tang Hongbo who is a former airforce pilot, 45, belonged to a later batch of astronauts and was trained for more than a decade before being selected for his first spaceflight on the Shenzhou-12.