Chinese shuttle Shenzhou 13 launched, with 3 astronauts – Space & Astronomy

Chinese shuttle Shenzhou 13 launched, with 3 astronauts – Space & Astronomy
Chinese shuttle Shenzhou 13 launched, with 3 astronauts – Space & Astronomy

The Chinese shuttle Shenzhou 13 has been launched, carrying three astronauts to the Tiangong space station for the first six-month mission. The Long March 2F rocket launched from the Jiuquan base in the Gobi desert brought the shuttle into orbit. The docking to the space station was successful at the radial port, as the Chinese media announce.

Shenzhou 13 is the fifth of the 11 missions planned between 2021 and 2022 designed to assemble the Tiangong space station which at the moment consists of only the main Tianhe module to which two cargo shuttles are attached (the last had arrived just under a month ago with supplies for the new astronauts). The 3 crew members will have the task in these months to test all the technologies for the assembly and expansion of the entirely Chinese space station. Over the course of the 92 days, the astronauts will also be engaged in extra-vehicular activities outside, and Wang will be the first Chinese woman to take a ‘spacewalk’.

During the pre-launch press conference, the deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency, Lin Xiqiang, explained that the Shenzhou 13 mission would be the last of the “technology demonstration phase” of the Tiangong space station. If successful, we will move on to the next phase: the launch of the new Wentian and Mention modules which will be integrated by the next Chinese crew arriving in 2022 with Shenzhou 14. Once the three modules are connected together, the Tiangong station will have a permanent mass about 66 tons, about one sixth of the mass of the International Space Station.

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Chinese shuttle Shenzhou launched astronauts Space Astronomy

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