Sunday, November 27, 2022

3 Chinese astronauts successfullydock at space station module

China on Sunday successfully launched three astronauts on a six-month mission to complete the construction of its strategically significant space station this year to further its dream to emerge as a major space power.
Hours after reaching the designated orbit, the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft carrying three astronauts, Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe, successfully docked with the orbiting core module of the space station called Tianhe and cargo crafts attached to it, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said.
The spacecraft lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
Minutes later, the official at the ground control declared the mission a “great success”, saying the spacecraft has reached its designated orbit.
The crew members of the Shenzhou-14 are in good shape and the launch is a complete success, the CMSA declared.
The trio will cooperate with the ground team to complete the assembly and construction of the Tiangong space station, developing it from a single-module structure into a national space laboratory with three modules — the core module, Tianhe and two lab modules — Wentian and Mengtian.
The launch was telecast live all over the country. Once ready, China will be the only country to own a space station. The International Space Station (ISS) of Russia is a collaborative project of several countries.
The China Space Station (CSS) is also expected to be a competitor to the ISS built by Russia. Observers say that the CSS may become the sole space station to remain in orbit once the ISS retires in the coming years.
In February, China unveiled an ambitious plan for its burgeoning space industry which included over 50 space launches and six manned space flights to complete the building of its space station.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said that China will carry out more than 50 space launches in 2022, sending over 140 spacecraft into space.
Chen, who will be the commander of the new mission, participated in the Shenzhou-11 crewed spaceflight mission.
Liu was part of the Shenzhou-9 mission and Cai is a newcomer to space, Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, said at the press conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.
The trio will stay in orbit for six months, Lin said.
During their stay in orbit, the Shenzhou-14 crew will witness the two lab modules, Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and Shenzhou-15 crewed spaceship dock with the core module Tianhe.
They will rotate with the Shenzhou-15 crew in orbit, and return to the Dongfeng landing site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in December, Lin said.
China began constructing its three-module space station in April 2021 with the launch of Tianhe – the first and biggest of the station’s three modules.

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