China launches its longest-ever crewed mission for space station construction
China on Saturday launched the crewed spaceship Shenzhou-13, sending three astronauts to its space station core module Tianhe for a six-month mission.
About 582 seconds after the launch, Shenzhou-13 separated from the rocket and entered its designated orbit. The crew members are in good shape and the launch is a complete success, the CMSA declared.
The three astronauts are Zhai Zhigang, the commander and China's first spacewalker, Wang Yaping, the first Chinese female astronaut to visit China's space station and carry out extravehicular activities, and Ye Guangfu, a newcomer to space.
They are expected to set a new record for China's manned space mission duration, exceeding the three months kept by the Shenzhou-12 crew from June to September this year.
After entering orbit, the Shenzhou-13 spaceship will conduct a fast automated rendezvous and docking with the in-orbit combination composed of the space station core module Tianhe and the cargo craft Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3. The astronauts will be stationed in the core module.
They will have assignments including operating mechanical arms, performing extravehicular activities, and having module transfer tests. They will also continue to verify key technologies concerning astronauts' long-term stay in orbit, as well as recycle and life support.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service