China Today (English)
China Launches Its Longest-ever Crewed Mission for Space Station Construction
China on October 16 launched the crewed spaceship Shenzhou-13 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, sending three astronauts to its space station core module Tianhe for a six-month mission.
It is the 21st flight mission since the country’s manned space program was approved and initiated, and the second crewed mission for China’s space station project.
The three astronauts are Zhai Zhigang, the commander and China’s first spacewalker, Wang Yaping, the first Chinese female astronaut to visit China’s space station and carry out extravehicular activities, and Ye Guangfu, a newcomer to space.
They are expected to set a new record for China’s manned space mission duration, exceeding the three months kept by the Shenzhou-12 crew from June to September this year.
Their assignments include operating mechanical arms, performing extravehicular activities, and having module transfer tests. They are also expected to verify key technologies concerning astronauts’ long-term stay in orbit, as well as
recycle and life support.
About 582 seconds after the launch
Shenzhou-13 separates from the rocket and enters its designated orbit. The crew members are in good shape and the launch is a complete success.
The spaceship completes the orbital status setting after entering the orbit and conducts a fast automated rendezvous and docking with the radial port of the Tianhe core module.
The spaceship forms a complex together with the cargo crafts,
After a series of intense preparation, the three astronauts enter the core module one by one.