China Wants To Conquer Space

China is sending astronauts to space and the country has a lot of plans on the space exploration front.

What’s New?

China will be sending the first astronauts to its self-developed space station on June 17. The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft will be carrying the three astronauts, and it will be launched atop a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Thursday at 9.22 AM local time.

An official at China’s Manned Space Engineering Office said, as mentioned by CNN, the astronauts will conduct two spacewalks to install equipment on the space station during their mission. This is the country’s first manned space mission since 2016 and the first time astronauts will go to China’s new space station which is still in development.

The Members

According to state media, the three-man crew will be led by Nie Haisheng, who is the oldest member of the team. This is Nie’s third trip into space, and he has been aboard China’s first mission with more than one astronaut in 2005 and its 2013 mission to test its docking technology.

Liu Boming is the second-oldest team member, and he joined China’s 2008 space mission. In China’s 2008 space mission, Liu helped Zhai Zhigang become the first Chinese astronaut to conduct a spacewalk. Tang Hongbo is the youngest member of the crew, and he is the only one of the three who is yet to travel to space.

Space & China

China is no stranger to space, as the country has accomplished several amazing feats, and this mission of launching astronauts into space marks a significant milestone in the country’s rapidly expanding space program. In the past seven months, China’s scientists have already successfully landed exploratory rovers on the moon in December and on Mars in May.

As part of the country’s plans to have a fully crewed space station by December 2022, China successfully launched the first core module on April 29. According to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, mentioned by CNN, that module was the largest spacecraft developed by China to date.

The other thing is that the world might end up needing China’s space station more than it thinks. The International Space Station, which is jointly developed by the US, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada, is nearing the end of its intended life in 2024 and at present, we do not know what will happen to the station after that. If the station is decommissioned, then China’s space station might be the only one in space for a while.

China has definitely achieved some major milestones on the space exploration front and there is more to come in the upcoming months. The country will carry out 11 missions this year and next to conclude the construction of the space station. These missions will include four manned missions. So, this is not going to be the last time China will be sending its astronauts to space, and all this work shows that the country might have broader ambitions in the space industry.

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