The Long March 2F rocket took the spacecraft into low orbit, where it was then connected to Shenzhou to the station’s base unit called Tianje (Heavenly Harmony).
About 200 meters from the unit, the ship’s approach was stopped to check systems before final installation at the station. It happened at 9:54 CEST on the Tianche 1 unit’s forward docking node.
fix! The Shenzhou 12 spacecraft successfully contacted the forward docking node of the Tianche 1 module today at 09:54 CEST. pic.twitter.com/mfzdbSebmU
– Michel Vaclavic (@Kosmo_Michal) June 17, 2021
China launched the same basic unit into Earth orbit at the end of April this year, in May a Chinese cargo ship transported supplies of fuel, food and equipment.
Reuters reports that eleven missions will need to be undertaken to complete the space station, four of which will be manned.
No Comment: A Chinese spacecraft with a crew of three blasted off to the orbital station under construction
The crew, led by 56-year-old Ni Haisheng, consists of 45-year-old Zhang Zhongbo and 54-year-old Liu Bo-ming, who took part in the historic mission of China’s first space launch in 2008.
The Taiwanese, as the astronauts in China are called, are set to work at Tianhe for three months, the longest stay in low orbit ever for a Chinese man.
During this time, the astronauts will go up into space, conduct various science experiments, test how to equip the station with technology, and prepare the station to connect two lab units next year.
The first part of the Chinese space station is scheduled to be launched into space in the second half of this year
Taiwanese will also be seen staying long in space both physically and mentally. Reuters wrote that another space mission is expected to take six months.
Upon completion, the Chinese space station will be similar in size to the former Soviet, and later Russian, Mir station. Its mass would be about one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station (ISS), a project from which the United States has excluded China. It can operate for 15 years.