China announced today that the launch of the Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft has been a “complete success”, moments after it took off from the Jiuqian satellite launch center, in the northwest of the country.
“The takeoff went as planned and the solar panels were deployed correctly. The mission has been a complete success ”, he stated. Zhang Zhifen, director of the launch center, after seeing the images broadcast live on state television CGTN.
The three astronauts who have departed aboard the ship are heading to the Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”) space station, where they will spend three months verifying technologies to build and operate this orbital complex.
The ship, with the astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo On board, it took off this Thursday at 9:22 a.m. (3:22 p.m. Spanish peninsular time) propelled by the carrier rocket Long March-2F.
According to the CMSA, the Chinese agency dedicated to manned space missions, the Shenzhou-12 is scheduled to dock in the next few hours with the central module. Tianhe (“Heavenly Harmony”, in Mandarin), which was launched on April 29 to exercise control of the space station Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”), which should be ready by the end of 2022.
The astronauts who departed aboard the spacecraft will be housed in that central module and will remain in orbit for three months.
The trio will work to “verify the main technologies to build and operate the Tiangong station,” he said. Ji qiming, CMSA deputy director, to the local press.
New trips to the “Heavenly Palace”
The Chinese space agency plans to carry out 11 launches, four of them manned, to bring another two modules to Tiangong, which will weigh a total of about 70 tons.
According to the state news agency Xinhua, the space station will orbit the Earth at an altitude of between 340 and 450 kilometers, and is designed to last about 10 years, although experts who cites trust that with proper maintenance it can last more than 15 years.
China has so far conducted six manned space missions, the last between October and November 2016 with two astronauts aboard the Shenzhou-11 capsule, who conducted a series of experiments over a month in the Tiangong-2 orbital laboratory.