China to launch Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship on June 17

China to launch Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship on June 17

China's space launches drew intense worldwide attention last month after remnants of the rocket that carried the Tianhe module into space fell back to Earth with no official forecast of their expected landing location until literally the final minutes.

The Tiangong space station is to be the third orbiting laboratory launched and operated by China, following the Tiangong-2 station launched in 2016 and de-orbited in 2019, and Tiangong-1 station that launched in 2011 and ceased operation in 2016.

"It is believed that, in the near future, after the completion of the Chinese space station, we will see Chinese and foreign astronauts fly and work together", he said. China's leaders hope the mission will be a complete success as the ruling Communist Party prepares to celebrate the centenary of its founding next month.

The rocket dropped its boosters about two minutes into the flight followed by the coiling surrounding Shenzhou-12 at the top of the rocket. It especially makes sense considering that China is barred from boarding the International Space Station after Congress passed a law in 2011.

Other improvements include an increase in the number of automated and remote-controlled systems that should "significantly lessen the pressure on the astronauts", Gao said.

Tianhe is 16.6 metres long and 4.2 metres in diameter, and houses all the life support kit that the crew will need to live in space for three months. It's China's seventh crewed mission in 18 years.

Ji said that as the Chinese space station, named Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, has entered the construction stage, China will deepen its cooperation and exchanges with partners in a wide variety of fields ranging from space science and technology to joint flights.

China is not a participant in the International Space Station, largely as a result of USA objections to the Chinese programs secrecy and close military ties. However, China has been stepping up cooperation with Russian Federation and a host of other countries, and its station may continue operating beyond the International Space Station, which is reaching the end of its functional life.

The China Manned Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs have jointly issued a statement inviting scientists from around the world to submit their research proposals for an opportunity to conduct their own experiments aboard the Chinese space station.

The state-backed People's Daily newspaper shared footage of the Shenzhou-12 vessel docking with the Tianhe module - the first piece of the station.

A Long March-2F carrier rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and a crew of three astronauts, lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.

Related Articles