Tue 30-05-2023 07:15 AM
JIUQUAN, 30th May, 2023 (WAM) — China launched the Shenzhou-16 manned spaceship on Tuesday, sending three astronauts to its space station combination for a five-month mission, reported state media (Xinhua).
The spaceship, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China at 9:31 am (Beijing Time), according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
About 10 minutes after the launch, Shenzhou-16 separated from the rocket and entered its designated orbit. The crew members are in good shape, and the launch is a complete success, the CMSA declared.
After entering orbit, the Shenzhou-16 spaceship will make a fast, automated rendezvous and docking with the space station combination. The Shenzhou-16 crew will rotate with the Shenzhou-15 crew in orbit.
As planned, the Shenzhou-16 astronauts will conduct large-scale in-orbit tests and experiments in various fields. They are expected to make high-level scientific achievements in studying novel quantum phenomena, high-precision space-time-frequency systems, and verifying general relativity and the origin of life.
The crew, consisting of Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao, will witness the dockings of the Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and the Shenzhou-17 manned spaceship, as well as the departures of the Shenzhou-15 manned spaceship and Tianzhou-5.
It is the first crewed mission for China’s space station’s application and development stage, and the 29th flight mission since the country’s manned space programme was approved and initiated.
The launch also marks the 475th flight mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.