According to state-run TV CGTN, three taikonauts have boarded China’s space station for a three-month mission dubbed Shenzhou-12.
* Three Chinese astronauts have entered China’s space station (CSS) for the first time, CGTN reported.
* The trio set foot in the CSS less than three hours after the Shenzhou-12 rocket docked.
* China launched the taikonauts into space on Thursday for a three-month mission
This makes them the first Chinese to ever reach a space station and the first astronauts to set foot in the new Chinese Space Station (CSS), according to the broadcaster.
Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo lifted off aboard the Chinese rocket Shenzhou-12 on Thursday. The rocket took them to the core module of the CSS, known as Tianhe, which China launched into space in April.
The taikonauts entered the CSS less than three hours after Shenzhou-12 docked, CGTN said.
The trio will unpack their supplies, and set up internet connections and other equipment on the CSS, which is still under development, CGTN reported.
The taikonauts will conduct a variety of experiments during their three-month stay, including evaluating the Tianhe module’s life-support capabilities and checking communications between the space station and mission controllers on Earth.
They’ll also conduct spacewalks to test new spacesuits and robot arms.
The 66-tonne Tianhe module is considerably smaller than the International Space Station (ISS), which weighs 450 tonnes. The whole space station is made up of the Tianhe and a supply ship Tianzhou-2.
Only three astronauts can fit in the Tianhe at one time.
According to Morgan McFall-Johnson of Insider, the idea is for China to send taikonauts to the CSS for six-month periods. The third of 11 planned launches to complete the CSS by 2022 was launched on Thursday.
Two additional modules, three more cargo shipments, and three more astronaut teams will be launched on the next eight missions.