Three crew members of China’s Shenzhou 12 launch on Thursday | Space News

In the new space race, Beijing has entered the countdown to its first manned mission in the past five years.

China will send three men into space on Thursday, the first manned mission in nearly five years, as part of an ambitious plan to complete the space station by the end of next year.

Expected to be launched in China Shenzhou-12 An official of the China Manned Space Administration said on Wednesday that it would depart from Jiuquan in northwestern Gansu Province at 9.22 am (01:22 GMT) on Thursday.

Ji Qiming, deputy director of the China Manned Space Administration, told reporters that the astronauts were 56-year-old Nie Haisheng, 54-year-old Liu Boming, and 45-year-old Tang Hongbo. Nie will be the oldest person China sent into space.

Shenzhou 12, which means “Shenzhou”, will be the third of the 11 missions required to complete the Chinese space station by 2022.

At least 4 of the 11 planned missions will carry people, possibly sending as many as 12 Chinese astronauts into space.

China started building the space station in late April this year. Tianhe is the first and largest of the three modules of the space station.

The crew of Shenzhou 12 will live in Tianhe, meaning “Tianhe”, A cylinder 16.6 meters (55 feet) long and 4.2 meters (14 feet) in diameter for three months.

The oldest Chinese astronaut leading mission

Nie, a former air force pilot from central Hubei Province, will lead the mission.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Shenzhou 12 will be Nie Jifei’s third space excursion after the 2005 Shenzhou 6 mission and the 2013 Shenzhou 10 mission.

This will be Liu’s second space mission, and his first will be the Shenzhou VII mission in 2008, which will include a landmark space walk. This will be Tang’s first space journey.

There are also three spare astronauts for this mission.

According to the Global Times, although the Shenzhou 12 mission did not arrange for women to participate, they are expected to participate in every subsequent mission. [Greg Baker/AFP]

The last manned mission in China was in 2016, when two people—Chen Dong and Jing Haipeng—were sent to Tiangong-2 via the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, which is the prototype of the space station. They later stayed there. About a month.

According to the “Global Times” report, although the Shenzhou 12 mission did not arrange for women to participate, they are expected to participate in every subsequent mission.

Following the first batch of 14 male astronauts in the mid-1990s, in 2011, China’s second batch of astronauts included two female Liu Yang and Wang Yaping. Liu was the first woman in China to enter space in 2012, and Wang was the youngest, 33 years old in 2013.

The international reputation of Chinese astronauts is relatively low.

The US law prohibiting NASA from having any connection with China means that its astronauts have not been to the International Space Station, which has a history of more than 20 years. The station has been visited by more than 240 men and women of different nationalities.

China has been accelerating its space program to contend with Western countries including the United States.

Beijing’s goal is to make the country a major space power by 2030, Turning space into the latest frontier in competition with the United States.

In May of this year, two years after the first spacecraft landed on the back of the moon, it became the second country to send a rover to Mars.

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