China Today (English)
China Launches First Crewed Mission for Space Station Construction
On June 17, China successfully launched the crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, which sent three astronauts to its space station core module Tianhe for a three-month mission.
It is China’s seventh crewed mission to space and the first during the construction of China’s space station.
The spacecraft, atop a Long March2f carrier rocket, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert at 9:22 a.m. (Beijing Time), according to the China Manned Space Agency. About 573 seconds after the launch,
Shenzhou-12 separated from the rocket and entered its designated orbit. The three astronauts are expected to set a new record for China’s manned space mission duration, exceeding the 33 days kept by the Shenzhou11 crew in 2016.
China launched its space station core module Tianhe on April 29 and cargo craft
Tianzhou-2 on May 29. The two completed a computer-orchestrated rendezvous and docking on May 30, waiting for the first crewed mission to unpack the cargo.