The first astronauts for China’s new space station have detonated the country’s longest-flying crew, a key step in establishing Beijing as a major space power.
The trio were on the Long March-2F rocket to the Tiangong station, where they will spend three months. This is China’s first group in almost five years.
The liftoff took place on Thursday morning from the Jiuquan Launch Center in northwest China’s Kobe Desert.
Their Shenzhou-12 spacecraft will carry the main part of the space station’s Tianhe Placed in orbit on April 29th.
Each block has separate living spaces, a treadmill for exercise, and a communication center for emails and video calls with floor control.
Beijing is launching a massive campaign in China to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party on July 1.
To prepare for the mission, the crew underwent more than 6,000 hours of training, including hundreds of underwater attacks in full space gear.
The commander of the expedition is Ni Haisheng, a decorated Air Force pilot in the People’s Liberation Army who has already participated in two space missions.
The other two are members of the military.
Over the next year and a half, 11 more trips are planned to complete construction on the Tiankang orbit.
The first team will test and maintain the spacecraft’s systems, conduct space tracks, and conduct scientific experiments.
China’s space aspirations have been partly triggered by the US ban on its astronauts International Space Station, A collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan.
ISS is due to retire after 2024, but NASA has said it can operate beyond 2028.
Tiangong should be much smaller than ISS and have a lifespan of at least 10 years.