China launches Astronaut crew on 6-month mission

China launched a three-person crew for a mission of six-month on board the Shenzhou-13 spaceship to its space station on October 16, 2021.

Key Points

  • The crew is planned to set up new record for the time spent in space by Chinese astronauts as China moves for completing the orbiting structure.
  • Shenzhou-13 spaceship is carrying three astronauts.
  • It was launched by a Long March-2F rocket.
  • The spacecraft is expected to complete docking with “Tianhe module” within six hours.
  • The mission will continue the work of first three-person crew that already spent 90 days on board.
  • First three-person crew conducted two spacewalks and deployed 10-metre (33-foot) mechanical arm before they returned to Earth in mid-September, 2021.

About new three-member crew

New three-member crew comprise of two veterans of space travel namely, pilot Zhai Zhigang aged 55, the only woman on mission- Wang Yaping aged 41 and Ye Guangfu aged 41, who is making his first trip to space.

Activities of crew

The scheduled activities of the crew include:

  1. Up to three spacewalks in order to install equipment for expanding station
  2. To assessing living conditions in the module and
  3. To conduct experiments in space medicine & other fields.

Military Run Space Programme

The military-run space programme of China plans to send multiple crews on the station in next two years in order to make it fully functional. Shenzhou-13 is the fifth mission to the structure, including the missions without crews to deliver supplies. After addition of two more modules named Mengtian and Wentian, Chinese space station will weigh around 66 tonnes.

Future modules

China is due to launch two additional modules before the end of 2020 during the stay of the Shenzhou-14 crew.

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