Shenzhou-12: China to launch first human space flight since 2016 | Space News

Shenzhou-12, which means “Divine Ship,” will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete China’s space station by 2022.

A Chinese spacecraft will depart from the Gobi Desert on a Long March race in the coming days, carrying three men to a spacecraft in orbit for a three-month stay, the first time China has sent the man into the space for almost five years.

Shenzhou-12, which means “Divine Ship,” will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete China’s space station by 2022. Among them, four will be missions with people on board, potentially propelling up to 12 astronauts. Chinese in space – more than the 11 men and women that China has sent since 2003.

The article will also bring into space the hopes of some in the most populous nation on Earth.

“The homeland is powerful,” wrote one person on Chinese social media, who was greeted with congratulations by the Shenzhou-12 crew. “The launch is a gift for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party.”

Chinese astronauts have had a relatively low international profile. A U.S. law banning NASA from any connection to China means its astronauts have not been on the International Space Station for more than two decades, visited by more than 240 men and women of various nationalities.

China, which aims to become a major spacecraft by 2030, became the second country to put a rover on Mars in May, two years after the landing of the first spacecraft from the far side of the moon. .

They also plan to put astronauts on the moon.

This time, men

The Shenzhou-12 crew will live on the Tianhe, “Harmony of the Skies,” a cylinder 16.6 meters (55 feet) long and 4.2 meters (14 feet) in diameter.

The planned three-month stay will break the country’s 30-day record set by the 2016 mission – China’s last equipped flight – of Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng in a prototype station.

Three men from China’s first and second group of astronauts will be on this mission, Yang Liwei, director of the Office of Manipulated Space Engineering in China and China’s first astronaut, told the agency state-run Global Times reported last month.

Chinese space bloggers speculate that the astronauts will be Nie Haisheng – who at 56 would be the oldest Chinese astronaut sent into space, Deng Qingming, 55, and Ye Guangfu, 40.

Usually, authorities do not announce the equipment of a mission until or near or after launch. China Manned Space did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters news agency.

The oldest human in space was John Glenn, who flew on the space shuttle at the age of 77 in 1998 – after being the first American to orbit the earth in 1962, an American senator and a presidential candidate.

While women are not scheduled for the Shenzhou-12 mission, they are scheduled to participate in each subsequent mission, Yang told the Global Times.

Two women, Liu Yang and Wang Yaping, were selected in 2011 from China’s second cohort, after the first batch of 14 men in the mid-1990s. Liu was China’s first woman in the space in 2012, while Wang was the youngest, at 33, in 2013.

China has begun building its space station in April with the launch of Tianhe, the first and largest of its three modules. This year it aims to send a robotic cargo refueling ship and three more astronauts, this time for a six-month stay.

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