Global Times

Rocket, cargo craft arrive for China’s space station mission

- By Deng Xiaoci and Ji Yuqiao

Both the launch vehicle and the cargo spacecraft commission­ed for the initial constructi­on missions of China's first- ever space station have arrived at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan Province, waiting for a window period for the launch.

China Manned Space Engineerin­g Office ( CMSEO) announced Monday that the Long March- 7 Y3 carrier rocket and the Tianzhou- 2 cargo spacecraft have arrived at the launch center in the tropical province.

This mission is expected to be launched after the Long March- 5B Y2 rocket and the Tianhe core cabinet module of the space station, which have also entered pre- launch phase and are undergoing assembly and testing at the launch pad at the Wenchang launch center.

As people from all over the world celebrate Internatio­nal Day of Human Space Flight 2021, which is observed globally on Monday to mark the 60th anniversar­y of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first manned flight into space, the world's first, the progress for China's space station constructi­on missions has added to the worldwide excitement of human space voyage.

According to a press release the CMSEO provided to the Global Times on Monday, the facility at the Wenchang Space Launch Center is in good condition, and all systems involved in the testing work are proceeding as planned.

Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program, told the Global Times in December 2020 that the very first mission of the space station constructi­on could be expected by 2021 spring. Some foreign space lovers have posted on social media, predicting that such launch could take place as early as late April.

Moments of milestone events in China's manned space missions are also treasured deep inside many Chinese people's hearts and have become a source of pride. Earlier on Monday, a video documentin­g the 11 Chinese astronauts, including two women, and their successful flights in space, has gone viral on China's social media platform Sina Weibo, gathering nearly 200 million views and more than 30,000 comments.

“China's space missions are mainly for peaceful purposes and fruits of developmen­t can be shared with others, to offer great help to the progress of space technology, which is different from the US' space technology that mainly serves the military,” Song Zhongping, an aerospace expert and TV commentato­r, told the Global Times.

Song added that when China's manned space station is completed, China will become a developed country in the aerospace sector capable of carrying out long- term manned operations in orbit and a variety of space experiment­s.

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