JIUQUAN, Oct 15 (Asia Free Press): China will send three astronauts, including the first female crew to work on its new space station for six months on Saturday.
According to state-run News Agency Xinhua this will be china’s longest-ever crewed space mission which would lead to a record for the most time spent in space by Chinese astronauts.
“The trio will stay in orbit for six months, which will be a regular duration for following Chinese astronauts to work and live in the space station,” Xinhua quoted Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) as saying.
The three astronauts named Zhai Zhiguang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu, to live and work for six months in the country’s under-construction space station, made their public debut as a crew on Thursday at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
The Shenzhou-13 spaceship will be launched at 12:23 a.m. Saturday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, announced the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) at a press conference.
Zhai, who performed China’s first spacewalk in the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008, will be the commander of the mission.
Wang, who attended the Shenzhou-10 mission in 2013, will be the first Chinese female astronaut to visit China’s space station and carry out extravehicular activities.
Ye is a newcomer to space. He was selected to join the second batch of Chinese astronauts in 2010 and made his first public appearance after completing a European Space Agency’s (ESA) underground training mission in 2016.
On Sept. 20, China launched cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-3 to deliver supplies for the Shenzhou-13 mission, including one extravehicular space suit for back-up, supplies for extravehicular activities, space station platform materials, payloads and propellants.
Currently, the two cargo crafts, namely Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3, are docked at the two ends of the Tianhe core module to form a linear shape, waiting for the arrival of Shenzhou-13 crew members.