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Chinese astronauts take off on mission to space station staff

Hong Kong — Thirteen years after former fighter pilot Liu Boming participated in China’s first EVA, the 54-year-old astronaut was sent back into space Thursday morning as part of his first mission to staff. I carved another milestone as. Country’s new space station..

Mr. Liu and two other former members of the PLA Air Force were blown up on Shenzhou 12 (“God’s Ship” in Chinese) on the Long March 2 rocket from the launch center in northwestern China.

The spacecraft will be docked with the Tenwa module, which is already in orbit, later Thursday, and astronauts will spend three months there, including two planned EVAs.

Prior to the launch, astronauts were guided by convoy to the Gobi Desert lunch pad on a sunny morning on a street lined with Chinese flags.

Their mission comes from making increasingly bold efforts in space before China celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of its dominant Chinese Communist Party in July.Chinese astronauts are blessed by the national media as a symbol of heroism China’s rapidly advancing space program, Is being promoted as a source of national pride.

The astronaut’s departure ceremony before boarding the Shenzhou 12 spacecraft on Thursday.


Photo:

greg Baker / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Space exploration in the west Supported by private entrepreneurs Tesla CEO, etc.

Elon Musk

And Amazon Inc.Chief Executive Officer

Jeff BezosChina’s state-led space program is similar to previous efforts by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which regularly include active military personnel.

China has meticulously directed the goals of the space program and astronauts (called Tyco Notes), an effort to create celebrity and nationalist enthusiasm as early American adventurers inspired in outer space. I am attracting. Many space enthusiasts regularly travel to launch sites such as Hainan.

An astronaut with a Chinese flag and a Communist pin on the lapel, indicating China’s accession to the ruling party, greeted reporters at the Kyusen Satellite Launch Center on Wednesday.

“Looking back, 13 years seems like a long time, but it’s gone so quickly,” he said in 2008, handing over the Chinese flag to his fellow astronauts during a historic space walk. Said Mr. Liu who shook. “When I stand on the arms of a machine, face the vast universe, and see those stars flying across Earth, I feel that all Chinese are at the bottom of their hearts. I hope I can fly with me. “

China has made great strides in space exploration in recent years, becoming the second country to successfully land and operate Rover last month. On mars..

The United States and China are in competition to explore Mars. Just months after NASA landed the Perseverance Rover, China succeeded in landing the Zhurong Rover on the Red Planet, according to national media. Photo: NASA; CCTV

The Tiangong Space Station, which means “Tiangong” in Chinese, will be built over the next few months. It is considered a rival to the International Space Station, which has accepted more than 200 astronauts from more than 12 countries over the last two decades. Since 2011, China has been excluded from cooperation with NASA by US law and its astronauts have been locked out of the ISS.

According to Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Bureau, Tiangu, which is much smaller than the ISS, will accept foreign astronauts when completed.

The mission is the first flight by a crew member to space in five years in China. The three men will stay for three months. This will be longer than the previous Chinese astronauts. They will be tasked with performing two extravehicular activities during their stay in orbit and conducting tests in preparation for other missions scheduled to move to the station before completion scheduled for the end of 2022. ..

“I feel a deep mission and honor to dive into space on behalf of my country,” 56-year-old Nie Haisheng said in a television statement the night before the launch.

This is the third space mission for Mr. Nee, who heads the PLA’s Tyconaut Brigade. “Development of China’s space mission is a process that makes our dreams come true, and for many years we have written a glorious chapter for China’s space mission,” he said. “Each step in progress embodies the expectations of countries, parties, and people.”

China in space

More coverage of national space programs selected by WSJ editors

Write to Natasha Khan natasha.khan@wsj.com

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Chinese astronauts take off on mission to space station staff

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