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China’s Shenzhou 12 launches into space with three astronauts

At around 01:22 GMT on Thursday, the spacecraft lifted off from northwestern China, further pushing China’s space program to compete with the United States.

China successfully launched Shenzhou 12-its first manned mission in five years-to further accelerate its space program to compete with the United States.

Shenzhou 12, meaning “Shenzhou”According to a live video broadcast by China Central Television, the national television station, it was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China at around 01:22 GMT on Thursday.

The launch was carried out by the Long March 2 F carrier rocket.

The spacecraft carried three male astronauts-Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo.

In the CCTV live video, Shenzhou flew over the earth’s atmosphere, following the critical separation of four boosters, two of the three astronauts made an “OK” gesture.

Chinese astronauts Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming spoke before the launch of the Shenzhou 12 spacecraft and three astronauts on the Long March 2 carrier rocket on Thursday [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

The news report quoted Chen Shanguang, deputy director of China’s manned space program, as saying: “The flight is very smooth.”

“This is the first step. There are many challenges ahead.”

According to CCTV reports, after the spacecraft enters orbit, it will quickly and automatically “rendezvous and dock” with Tianhe, the core module of the orbiting space station.

The astronauts will be stationed in the core module and stay in orbit for three months.

Major space forces by 2030

The state-owned media “Global Times” quoted Gao Xu, deputy chief designer of Shenzhou 12, as saying that the development of the manned spacecraft followed “the highest standards of the national aerospace industry.”

Shenzhou 12 is composed of three parts: the orbital module, the return module and the propulsion module, and carries 14 subsystems.

In an interview with the Global Times, Gao referred to the spacecraft as the “life boat” because it will not only transport three astronauts to the Tianhe core module in orbit, but also is expected to transport the spacecraft within about 90 days. They are sent back to Earth.

China started to build a space station this year with the launch of Tianhe – The first and largest of the three modules of the station – in late April.

Nie, a former air force pilot from central Hubei Province, is the leader of this mission.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Shenzhou 12 is Nie’s third space excursion after the 2005 Shenzhou 6 mission and the 2013 Shenzhou 10 mission.

This is Liu’s second space mission. His first was the Shenzhou VII mission in 2008, which included a landmark spacewalk. This is Tang’s first space journey.

The last manned mission in China was in 2016, when two men—Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng—were sent to Tiangong-2 via the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, which is the prototype of the space station. About a month.

Beijing’s goal is to make China a major aerospace power by 2030, turning space into the latest frontier in competition with the United States.

in May, China becomes the second country to send a rover to Mars, Two years after the first spacecraft landed on the back of the moon.

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