HELSINKI — China rolled out a Long March 2F rocket Wednesday in preparation to send the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and three astronauts to an orbiting space station module.
The Long March 2F rocket was vertically transferred to its pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) announced Wednesday.
The rocket will send Shenzhou-12 and three astronauts to the Tianhe core module for China’s space station which launched April 28 Eastern.
Authorities have yet to reveal the planned launch date nor the identity of the primary and backup crews for the mission. Shenzhou-12 was expected to launch around June 10 Beijing time but a week-long delay to the launch of the Tianzhou-2 cargo mission likely pushed back the date by a similar length of time.
The Shenzhou-12 mission will involve a series of technical verification tasks related to the performance and function of the Tianhe core module. It will include extravehicular activities using EVA suits delivered by Tianzhou-2, and verification of a regenerative life support system.
Shenzhou-12 will be the country’s first crewed mission in more than four-and-a-half years and just the seventh overall. China’s first crewed mission was Shenzhou-5 in ...