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


Shenzhou-12, meaning “divine ship,” will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete the Chinese space station in 2022.

A Chinese spacecraft will leave the Gobi Desert with a Long March rocket in the coming days and transport three men to an orbiting space module for a three-month stay, the first time China has sent humans into space for nearly five years.

Shenzhou-12, which means “divine ship,” will be the third of 11 missions needed to complete the Chinese space station by 2022. Among them, four will be manned missions, potentially propelling up to 12 Chinese astronauts to the space, more than the eleven men and women that China has sent since 2003.

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

“The homeland is powerful,” one person wrote on Chinese social media, who has been enlightened with wishes for the Shenzhou-12 crew. “The launch is a gift to the centenary 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 space power by 2030, became the second country to launch a rover on Mars in May, two years after landing the first spacecraft at the end. of the Moon.

He also plans to put astronauts on the moon.

This time, men

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

The planned three-month stay would break the country’s 30-day record set by Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng’s 2016 manned flight – the last manned flight to 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 Manned Space Engineering in China and China’s first astronaut, told the agency. state Global Times 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.

Authorities typically do not announce the crew of a mission until or after launch. China Manned Space did not respond to a fax request from the Reuters news agency.

The oldest man in space was John Glenn, who flew with the space shuttle at the age of 77 in 1998, after being the first American to orbit the earth in 1962, American senator and candidate to the presidency.

Although no women are scheduled for the Shenzhou-12 mission, they are expected to participate in all subsequent missions, Yang told the Global Times.

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

China began 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 supply spacecraft and three more astronauts, this time for a six-month stay.

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