China prepares to launch Shenzhou XVII manned spaceflight

2023-10-22 Editor:Li Yan

The Shenzhou XVII spacecraft and its carrier, a Long March 2F rocket, are moved to the service tower at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert, Oct 19, 2023. (Photo by Wang Jiangbo/For

China's upcoming manned spaceflight, the Shenzhou XVII, is scheduled to be launched very soon to transport three astronauts to the Tiangong space station, China Central Television reported on Sunday.

An all-system rehearsal took place at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert on Sunday, the State broadcaster said, adding that all systems involved in this mission checked pre-launch preparations during the rehearsal.

Astronauts in the Shenzhou XVII mission, whose names have yet to be disclosed, also took part in the operation, performing all liftoff manoeuvres, CCTV reported, adding that the Shenzhou XVI crew have been ready to welcome their successors in the Tiangong station.

By now, the Shenzhou XVI mission crew — mission commander Major General Jing Haipeng, spaceflight engineer Colonel Zhu Yangzhu and Professor Gui Haichao, the mission's science payloads specialist — have been in orbit for nearly five months, and will return to Earth after several days of handover to the Shenzhou XVII crew.

The six-month Shenzhou XVII will be the nation's 12th manned space mission and the sixth crewed flight to the Tiangong.

Orbiting about 400 kilometers above the ground, the Tiangong currently consists of three major components, the Tianhe core module and Wentian and Mengtian science lab modules — and is connected with two visiting craft, the Shenzhou XVI crew ship and the Tianzhou 6 cargo ship.

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