A Long March rocket blasted off from China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center today, carrying three astronauts to China’s new space station. The launch marks China’s first crewed mission in five years.
The launch of the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft took place at 9:22AM local time on Thursday morning. The three astronauts, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo, will be the first three people to board China’s space station, Tianhe. They will stay on Tianhe for three months, bringing the space station online.
The core module of Tianhe, which contains the crew’s living quarters, was launched in April 2021. This first crewed mission is part of eleven planned missions during the space station’s construction phase — two more modules and several…