China is all set for the launch of its longest –manned space mission with a spacecraft alongside experimental lab which carries two astronauts. The spacecraft will stay a month long under the Communist giant’s determined plans to establish its own permanent space station by 2022.
Two Chinese astronauts, Chen Dong, 37 and Jing Haipeng, 50 will be blasted into space aboard ‘Shenzhou-11‘ (which refers to a heavenly vessel) spacecraft at 7.30am from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center located near the Gobi Desert in the northern China.
According to Wu Ping, Deputy Director of China’s manned space engineering office, the mission will be carried out by a Long March-2F carrier rocket. It will dock with orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 within a couple of days, and the astronauts will reside in the lab for 30 days.
China has conducted its first manned space mission back in 2003 which lasted for 15 days, is now investing billions into its space program in a tender to catch up with Europe and the US. It is also planning for its launch of maiden Mars mission in 2020 to match India and others.
China says this space program is for peaceful purposes, and also has tested anti-satellite missiles besides its civilian aims.
As per reports of Wu, the Shenzhou-11 spaceship will be returning to Earth within a day after landing the two astronauts on Tiangong-2 space lab and will be separating from it.
Astronaut Jing will be commanding the mission to the space lab which was launched in the earlier month. Jing has been to space twice earlier for Shenzhou-9 mission in 2012 and Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008.
Chen hold’s a safe flight record of 1,500 hours as an air force pilot and became China’s second group of astronauts in May 2010. He is also selected in June 2016 as a crew member of the Shenzhou-11 mission, Wu said. This is going to be his first space mission.
“China plans to launch the experimental core module of its space station around 2018 with a Long March-5 heavy load carrier rocket, and the 20-ton combination space station will be sent into orbit around 2022.” says, Lei Fanpei, chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC).