China Astronaut Shenzou-12 Spacecraft Tiangong Space Station
China successfully launched three astronauts – Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo – into space on Thursday aboard the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft sitting atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert. It will send the crew to the core module of the planned space station, called Tiangong (Heavenly Palace), which is currently being constructed in low Earth orbit. Read more for two videos and additional information.



After Shenzou-12 enters orbit, the spacecraft will conduct a fast automated rendezvous and docking with the in-orbit space station core module Tianhe. These three astronauts will then be stationed in the core module and remain in orbit for approximately three months. The Tiangong space station is set to be assembled using several modules launched at different times, but once completed, it’s expected to operate for at least 10 years.

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We are honored to take the lead in a series of manned missions for the space station construction, and we have many expectations,” said Nie Haisheng, Shenzhou 12 commander, during a press conference at Jiuquan on Tuesday.