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China to Launch Astronauts to Tiangong Space Station: Methods to Watch

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On Tuesday night in China, a rocket as tall as a 20-story constructing will carry three astronauts toward a rendezvous with the country’s just-completed space station.

The mission, which known as Shenzhou 15, will set a big milestone for China’s crewed space program. Here’s what you must know concerning the flight and why it is important.

The mission will lift off at 11:08 p.m. local time on Tuesday, or 10:08 a.m. Eastern time in america. CGTN, China’s state television network, has announced that it can carry the launch live, although television broadcasts from China are sometimes actually delayed by several seconds in case anything goes improper. The launch ought to be visible here with commentary in English: https://www.cgtn.com/television

The rocket launch might be a split-screen event for China, the most recent in a protracted series of technological achievements for the country, at the same time as lots of its residents have been angrily lashing out within the streets against stringent pandemic controls.

Three men might be aboard Shenzhou 15: Fei Junlong, Deng Qingming and Zhang Lu. China selected its oldest and most experienced team of astronauts to run the just-completed space station for the following six months. Mr. Fei, the spaceflight commander, first went into space in 2005 and is 57 years old.

“I’m very proud and excited to have the opportunity to go to space again for my country,” he said.

The primary piece of the Tiangong space station, the Tianhe core module, was launched last 12 months. Two uncrewed pieces of the orbital base, Wentian and Mengtian, were launched in separate flights in July and October, each docking with Tianhe, and completing construction of the space station.

The Tianhe core module has had trios of astronauts aboard it for brief stints since last 12 months. However the launch on Tuesday represents the start of continuous occupancy of the space station, with overlapping stays by two crews of astronauts. The three Shenzhou 15 astronauts will fly as much as the space station and spend every week with the astronauts already there from Shenzhou 14 in a coordinated exchange of roles much like what happens on the International Space Station. The Shenzhou 14 astronauts will then fly back to China while the Shenzhou 15 astronauts will stay aboard Tiangong until next May, once they might be replaced by one other team.

Although the initial astronauts are all from China, officials said on Monday that they’d welcome astronauts from other countries.

China has 4 space rocket launch sites across the country. The just one for crewed expeditions is the one getting used on Tuesday: the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, within the country’s northwest.

Jiuquan is 150 miles into the Gobi Desert from the closest city, Jiayuguan in Gansu Province. Construction of the middle began in 1958, when it was built for China’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Foreigners and even most Chinese residents will not be often allowed anywhere near the positioning.

On Monday and Tuesday, journalists for 2 foreign news organizations got unusual access to the launch center. They were two journalists for The Latest York Times and a photographer from Kyodo News of Japan. Each visitor was required to spend every week first sealed in a quarantine room at a village hotel about 50 miles away and pass each day PCR tests. Foreign journalists paid for his or her travel, accommodation and quarantine.

The quarantine was a part of elaborate precautions to stop the Covid-19 virus from reaching the space center again. An outbreak last 12 months briefly interrupted work at the positioning.

Li You contributed research from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

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