China launches new manned mission this Saturday (16); meet the taikonauts

During a press conference held this Thursday, the Chinese space agency China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced that, next Saturday (13), the country will launch the Shenzhou spacecraft-13 taking three taikonauts to the Tianhe module of the new Tiangong-3 space station . The launch will take place at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and is scheduled to take place at 13h23 , Beijing time, with a Long March 2F rocket.

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  • On board the capsule will be taikonauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu. Zhai, who previously served on the Shenzho-7 mission, will be the mission commander. Wang, a taikonaut who served at Shenzhou-10, will be the first female astronaut from China to visit the station and carry out extravehicular activities. Ye, finally, will have her first experience in space. During their stay at the new facilities, the trio will advance with the station’s construction activities.

    Among the mission’s objectives is to carry out experiments with essential technologies for assembling the space station, such as transposing modules and remote, manually controlled operation. They will need to perform between two and three exits from the capsule to install a double-arm mounting adapter and robotic-arm suspension, necessary to prepare the installations for the other stages of the station’s assembly. Furthermore, there will be experiments and scientific applications in aerospace medicine and microphysics, in addition to various scientific and educational activities.

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    There will also be validation of procedures to guarantee the health, life and work of the astronauts during their stay in orbit. The tasks will be completed over six months, the longest period ever spent in space by Chinese astronauts. After entering orbit, the Shenzhou 10 will conduct a rapid and autonomous maneuver to dock to the port of the Tianhe module. With the procedure, a kind of complex will be formed with the central module and with the Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3 spacecraft, which carried supplies and items necessary for the astronauts to spend the months of the mission on board the station.

    Source: Xinhua, China Military, IT

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