China sends new crew to its space station in June

(ORDO NEWS) — China will send three more astronauts to its new space station in June, following the return of the station’s previous crew over the weekend after spending six months in orbit, officials said Sunday.

The Shenzhou-14 capsule team will spend six months at Tiangong Station to install two more modules, Hao Chung, director of the Manned Space Flight Administration, said at a press conference.

As part of its ambitious space program, China launched its first taikonaut into orbit in 2003, sent robotic rovers to the Moon in 2013 and Mars last year. Industry leaders discussed a possible manned mission to the Moon.

The main module of the Tiangong station, or Heavenly Palace, was launched in April 2021. According to the plan, the completion of the station should take place this year.

The Wentian module will be launched in July and the Mengtian module in October, Hao said.

When the Shenzhou 14 crew mission comes to an end, another crew will be sent aboard the Shenzhou 15 capsule to also spend six months on the station, Hao said.

He added that for a period of three to five days, both teams will be on board the station, and the total number of taikonauts at the station will reach six people for the first time.

China was excluded from the list of participants in the International Space Station project due to US concerns about the military focus of the Chinese space program.

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