Category: Latest Announcement
China is launching the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft with two astronauts on board at 7:30 a.m. Beijing Time (23:30 GMT, Sun.
China is launching the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft with two astronauts on board at 7:30 a.m. Beijing Time (23:30 GMT, Sun.) on October 17, Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China’s Manned Space Engineering Office, announced in a press conference on Sunday.
The spaceship, which will be sent on a modified Long March-2F carrier rocket, will host two astronauts and eventually dock with Tiangong-2, China's latest and most advanced spacelab that already entered the circular orbit at 393 km altitude in preparation.
The module had successfully blasted off from China’s northwest Gobi desert on September 15.
The two astronauts named for the mission, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, also made their press debut, one day before taking off for a 33-day journey in space – double the national record for stay in space.
Jing is an experienced astronaut and the commanding officer of the Shenzhou-11 mission, while Chen will be flying to space for the first time.
50-year-old Jing was among the taikonauts in the Shenzhou-7 and Shenzhou-9 missions.
The two have concluded all necessary training and testing, and are well prepared for the upcoming outer space travel.
The Shenzhou-11 spaceship and Tiangong-2 spacelab will dock on Wednesday at an altitude of about 393 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The Two Chinese astronauts will then enter the lab, where they will carry a host of experiments for about one month.
Three years ago, when Shenzhou-10 was launched to space on June 11, three astronauts docked with Tiangong-1 lab, and lived in space for 15 days.
Wu said the number of astronauts aboard Shenzhou-11 was cut to two, because of the mission’s period. The longer time they stay in outer space, the more basic living needs such as oxygen, water and food are needed.
The Tiangong-2 spacelab comes with more cutting-edge equipment and improved living conditions for astronauts, allowing them to stay in outer space for up to 30 days.
Mastering space docking technology is a vital stage before building and operating a more comprehensive space station. With five previous manned spacecraft missions under its belt, China has grasped automated and manual space docking techniques.
The successful launch of Tiangong-2 spacelab was the latest exhibit of the country’s growing prowess in space, with Monday’s launch expected to take China’s space dream even further.
Watch the video for more details of the astronauts' life in space: