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China launches main part of its 1st permanent space station

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Still Waters

China on Thursday launched the main module of its first permanent space station that will host astronauts long term, the latest success for a program that has realized a number of its growing ambitions in recent years.

The Tianhe, or "Heavenly Harmony," module blasted into space atop a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang Launch Center on the southern island province of Hainan, marking another major advance for the country's space exploration.

The launch begins the first of 11 missions necessary to complete, supply and crew the station by the end of next year.

https://phys.org/news/2021-04-china-main-1st-permanent-space.html

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China's cargo spacecraft docks with space station module

China's cargo spacecraft, carrying supplies, equipment and propellant, docked with the space station's key module Tianhe on Sunday, the official news agency Xinhua reported.

The Tianzhou-2, or "Heavenly Vessel" in Chinese, autonomously rendezvoused and docked with Tianhe at 5:01 a.m. Beijing time, Xinhua said Sunday.

It blasted off via a Long March-7 Y3 rocket at 8:55 p.m. Beijing time on Saturday from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern island of Hainan, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/05/30/asia/china-cargo-space-station-dock-intl-hnk-scn/index.html

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China to send 3 male astronauts to its space station in June

A three-man crew of astronauts will blast off in June for a three-month mission on China's new space station, according to a space official who was the country's first astronaut in orbit.

The plans for the station's first crew were confirmed to state television by Yang Liwei, the manned space program's deputy chief designer, as an automated spacecraft was launched with fuel and supplies for the Tianhe station.

The Shenzhou 12 capsule carrying the crew will be launched from the Jiuquan base in China's northwest next month, Yang said in comments broadcast Saturday by China Central Television.

They will practice spacewalks and conduct repairs and maintenance as well as scientific operations.

https://phys.org/news/2021-05-chinese-astronauts-space-station-month.html

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Rocket on pad, China ready to send 1st crew to space station

The Long March-2F Y12 rocket carrying the Shenzhou-12 spaceship was transferred to the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Wednesday, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a brief statement. Its tentative launch date is next Wednesday.

The space agency plans a total of 11 launches through the end of next year to deliver two laboratory modules to expand the 70-ton station, along with supplies and crew members. Next week's launch will be the third of those, and the first of the four crewed missions planned.

Another cargo mission is planned for September, shortly after which a replacement crew will be sent up, according to reports. The station's other two modules are expected to be launched next year.

https://phys.org/news/2021-06-rocket-crew-chinese-space-station.html

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