China launches second crewed mission to build space station

China launches second crewed mission to build space station

China launches second crewed mission to build space station Credit: Wikipedia - Shujianyang CC BY-SA 4.0.

Three astronauts will be launched into space on Sunday in China’s second crewed mission to build a space station.

According to a report by Reuters on June 4, the astronauts will continue work on the core module of the unfinished space station. It is understood that they will work and live in space for six months as construction enters advanced stages.

Mission Commander Chen Dong will be accompanied by Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe aboard Shenzhou, meaning “Divine Vessel” in Chinese, which will blast into space aboard a Long March-2F rocket.

Lin Xiqiang, a China space agency official told a press conference: “All preparations for the launch are basically ready.”

China began constructing the space module in April 2021 with the launch of Tianhe, the first and biggest of the station’s three modules. All told, 11 missions will be required to complete the build with four of these containing crew.

Tianhe, which is slightly larger than a bus, will form the living quarters of visiting astronauts once the T-shaped space station is completed. The two remaining modules, Wentian and Mengtian, will be launched in July and October respectively.

Wentian will feature a robotic arm, an airlock cabin for trips outside of the station, and living quarters for an additional three astronauts during crew rotations. Mengtian will contain the ablution facilities.

Once complete the station will weigh around 180 tonnes and be about a fifth the mass of the International Space Station.

The second crewed mission will set up the two and test the functionality of the two new modules.

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at