China sends its youngest-ever crew of astronauts to the Tiangong space station. The three astronauts are scheduled to spend six months on the space station, conducting scientific experiments and maintaining the station.
In an awe-inspiring display of China’s space prowess, three youngest-ever astronauts embarked on a historic journey from the Gobi Desert’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Their destination? The Tiangong space station, where they’ll spend a whopping six months!
What’s truly remarkable is that this crew boasts the youngest average age ever recorded for a Chinese space mission, clocking in at just 38 years old. Their mission? A crucial repair job on the station’s solar panels, damaged by space debris – a task never before attempted by Chinese astronauts.
This mission marks China’s sixth manned venture to its space station since 2021, taking over from the Shenzhou-16 crew who have been on board since May.
Before their epic liftoff, the crew was sent off in grand style, welcomed by a sea of supporters, waving Chinese flags and flowers, creating a heartwarming scene of unity and pride.
For Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut who made history in 2003, this launch holds special significance. Just days after celebrating the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking flight, Yang reflected on the remarkable progress China’s space program has achieved.
The Tiangong, or “heavenly palace” in Chinese, is now one of only two space stations orbiting our planet. With a projected lifespan of 15 years, it may stand as the lone space station once the NASA-led International Space Station retires in 2030.
China is wasting no time, already planning to expand the Tiangong by adding three more modules, accommodating even more astronauts soon. Currently, it can host up to three astronauts, while the ISS can accommodate seven.
Tang Hongbo, the crew’s leader, is a seasoned pilot who made history in 2021 on China’s inaugural crewed mission to the space station. His return sets a new record for the shortest interval between two spaceflight missions by Chinese astronauts.
As China takes the lead in space exploration, offering partnerships and opportunities, it’s clear that space has become the next frontier in global competition. With a string of remarkable achievements under their belt, including landing on the far side of the moon and sending a rover to Mars, China’s ambitions in space are boundless.