Shenzhou-12: China prepares to launch three astronauts to space for the first time in five years

China is preparing to launch its manned spaceship sometime later this month. As reported by CGTN, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) has said that the Long March-2F Y12 rocket, which is going to carry the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, has been transferred to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The publication further reports that this spacecraft will take three astronauts to Tianhe which is the core module of China's space station. The space agency plans to complete its space station by the end of 2022. Shenzhou-12 is the third mission out of the 11 missions required to complete the station.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship with its Long March-2F carrier rocket is being transferred to the launching area of Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gansu province, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. A three-man crew of astronauts will blast off in June for a three-month mission on China’s new space station, according to a space official who was the country's first astronaut in orbit in May. (Wang Jiangbo/Xinhua via AP)

Out of total missions, there are a total of four manned missions, four cargo vessel flights, three core modules, and two lab capsules of the space station.

So far, the Tianhe core module and Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft have been sent.

Yang Liwei, Director of CMSEO has said that the astronauts are going to conduct repair and maintenance work during their three-month stay in space. Although an exact date has not been announced, it is being speculated that the rocket will launch later this month.

As per Xinhua, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) has said in a statement that the facilities and equipments are in good condition. It added that there will be several pre-launch function checks and tests that will be carried out.

Global Times reports that the Long March-2F carrier rocket has four 2.25-meter-in-diameter boosters. This rocket can send 8.6 tons to low Earth orbit. Long March-2F carrier rocket is 58.34 meter long and its diameter is 3.35 meter.

As per the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, this rocket has sent 11 astronauts to space since 1999 when it went on its first flight.

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