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China to launch Shenzhou 12 mission to its space station

10 Jun 2021, 10:11 UTC
China to launch Shenzhou 12 mission to its space station
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A Long March 2F rocket undergoes testing for the Shenzhou mission in a Beijing factory in January 2021. Image via CASC/ Space.com.
China is getting ready to launch three taikonauts – Chinese astronauts – into low Earth orbit. The mission, Shenzhou 12, is China’s first crewed mission to the Tiangong space station. There’s been no word of an official launch date for Shenzhou 12. However, it’s likely that a Long March 2F rocket will deliver the trio to rendezvous and dock with the Tianhe module sometime this month. It was initially rumored to be June 10, 2021, but now appears scheduled for June 17.
The China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) announced that the spacecraft and rocket for the launch arrived at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in mid-April. On April 28, Space.com reported that the rocket and its spacecraft were currently undergoing final assembly and testing at the site. Then, on May 29 the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft docked with the Tianhe space station module to deliver supplies and propellant in preparation for the Shenzhou 12 crew. China has traditionally released very little detail about upcoming missions. So it is with Shenzhou 12. But the deliveries to the JSLC ...

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