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China plans to send three astronauts to the longest manned mission ever

Beijing — China is preparing to have three astronauts live on a space station for six months. This is a new milestone in a program that has made rapid progress in recent years.

This is China’s longest manned space mission and sets the longest record for Chinese astronauts in space. The Shenzhou 13 spacecraft will be launched into space by the Long March 2 rocket early Saturday morning from the Kyusen Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert in northwestern China.

The first crew members to complete a 90-day mission on the main Tenwa core module of the space station returned in mid-September.

The new crew includes two veterans of space travel. Pilot Zhai Zhigang, 55, was the first EVA in China. Wang Yaping, 41, was the only woman to participate in the mission, traveling in one of China’s early experimental space stations, conducting experiments in real time and leading science classes. Ye Guangfu (41) travels to space for the first time.

The three later spoke to reporters through the glass barrier at Sakesen Base, and Zai said the length of the mission would be a challenge, but he was convinced they were ready to meet.

“After almost two years of training (together), our crew know each other well and have an implicit understanding. With the power and wisdom of our team, (we) everything. I believe it will definitely solve the difficulties, “said Zhai.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, from left, Chinese astronauts Ye Guangfu, Zhai Zhigang, and Wang Yaping waved to the reporter who arrived at the press conference at the Shenzhou Satellite Launch Center prior to the launch mission of Shenzhou 13. I am. Thursday, October 14, 2021, northwestern China.
Ju Zhenhua / Xinhua via AP

Russian astronaut Valerie Poliakov, who lived in Russia’s old Mir space station in 1994 and 1995, holds the record for the longest stay in space for more than 14 months.

The mission is expected to carry out two EVAs, deploy a 10-meter (33-foot) mechanical arm, and continue the work of the first crew to make a video call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. It has been.

Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Program, said the rocket was fueled and ready to fly. “All systems carrying out Shenzhou 13’s mission have undergone a comprehensive rehearsal. The flight crew is in good condition and ready for launch,” Lin said in a briefing on Thursday. rice field.

The crew’s planned activities include up to three extravehicular activities to install equipment in preparation for station expansion, checking living conditions inside the module, and conducting experiments in space medicine and other areas. It is included.

The Chinese army, which is carrying out the space program, has released few details, but has stated that it will send multiple crew members to the station over the next two years to make it fully functional. Shenzhou 13 will be the fifth mission, including a crew-free trip to deliver supplies.

Completed with the addition of two modules named Mengtian and Wentian, the station weighs approximately 66 tonnes. This is a fraction of the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998, and weighs about 450 tonnes when completed. Lin said the two additional modules would be sent by the end of next year during the stay of the unnamed Shenzhou 14 crew.

China has been excluded from the International Space Station, primarily due to the secret nature of China’s programs and US opposition to close military ties. We planned to build our own space station in the early 1990s and prepared two experimental modules before embarking on a permanent station.

US law requires parliamentary approval for communication between the US and China’s space programs, but China works with space experts from countries such as France, Sweden, Russia, and Italy.

Mr Lin said China is expanding such cooperation, Ye Guangfu was trained with the European Space Agency in 2016, and European astronauts participated in China’s maritime survival training in 2017. ..

“We welcome astronauts from other countries to enter our space station and engage in international cooperation,” Lin said. “We believe more foreign astronauts will visit our station after the station is in operation and use.”

Ye commented on his time at ESA and remembers that “exploring the vast universe and building a house in space made me realize that it is a common mission and pursuit of astronauts.” I called it an experience.

“I’m looking forward to the day when my international colleagues can travel in space (with us). We welcome them to visit the Chinese space station,” Ye said.

Since 2003, when China became the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States, it has launched seven manned missions carrying a total of 14 astronauts. Two Chinese astronauts flew twice.

In addition to its crew mission, China has expanded its work on lunar and Mars exploration, including placing rover behind the moon and returning moon rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

China has landed the Tianwen-1 spacecraft on Mars this year. On Mars, the accompanying Zhurong Rover was looking for evidence of life on the Red Planet.

Other programs require collecting soil from asteroids and bringing back additional lunar samples. China has also expressed its desire to land people on the moon and perhaps build a scientific foundation there, but no timeline for such a project has been proposed. A very secret spaceplane is also reported to be under development.

China plans to send three astronauts to the longest manned mission ever

Source link China plans to send three astronauts to the longest manned mission ever

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