24/7 Space News
China launches new mission to space station
China launches new mission to space station
By Glenda KWEK
Jiuquan, China (AFP) Oct 26, 2023

China sent a fresh crew to its Tiangong space station on Thursday, in the latest mission for a growing space programme that plans to send people to the Moon by 2030.

The Shenzhou-17 blasted off from the Jiuquan launch site in northwest China at 11:14 am (0314 GMT), carrying a three-astronaut team with the youngest average age since the space station's construction.

At a farewell ceremony, hundreds of supporters waving the Chinese national flag and clutching yellow flowers cheered on the three astronauts -- wearing white and blue spacesuits -- as they were introduced to the crowds.

The patriotic song "Ode to the Motherland" was sung as the space travellers walked slowly down a short pathway between the crowds, smiling and waving goodbye before boarding a bus to the launch site.

Captaining the crew is Tang Hongbo, who is on his first return mission to the space station.

Accompanying him are Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin, both in their thirties and each making maiden space voyages.

The all-male crew is the youngest ever to man a mission to the space station, with an average age of 38.

They are set to "perform various in-orbit space science and application payload tests and experiments", Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency, said on Wednesday.

They will also conduct some maintenance work on the station to fix some "minor damages" from space debris, he said.

"We have found that the solar wings of the space station had been hit by tiny space particles several times," Lin explained.

- Gobi launch -

Members of the previous Shenzhou-16 crew -- aboard Tiangong for nearly five months now -- are preparing to receive the trio before returning to Earth next week.

Hundreds of spectators gathered on Thursday morning near the rocket site at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, in the Gobi Desert, some wearing the blue uniforms of China's space agency.

Excitement broke out among the crowd as a loudspeaker blared a countdown and the rocket lifted off, sending plumes of smoke across the launch pad and the dry, flat desert expanse surrounding the site, before the increasingly loud roar of the engines drowned out the applause.

A livestream showed the crew onboard the space station monitoring their ascent in anticipation of their arrival.

After the rocket had been airborne for about 15 minutes, a space programme official proclaimed the launch a "complete success".

Tiangong, the crown jewel of Beijing's space programme, is constantly crewed by rotating teams of three astronauts.

- Space dream -

Plans for China's "space dream" have been put into overdrive under President Xi Jinping.

The world's second-largest economy has pumped billions of dollars into its military-run space programme in an effort to catch up with the United States and Russia.

In June, the return capsule of the Shenzhou-15 spaceship touched down at a landing site in the northern Inner Mongolia region, with state media hailing the mission as a "complete success".

That month also saw the launch of the Shenzhou-16 capsule, which carried the first Chinese civilian -- Beihang University professor Gui Haichao -- into orbit.

That crew will return to Earth on October 31 after completing a handover, officials said Wednesday.

Beijing also aims to send a crewed mission to the Moon by 2030 and plans to build a base on the lunar surface.

Deputy director Lin reiterated that aim Wednesday, saying that the "goal of landing Chinese people on the moon by 2030 will be realised as scheduled".

Related Links
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
China able, ready to invite foreign astronauts to its space station
Jiuquan (XNA) Oct 25, 2023
China is able and ready to invite foreign astronauts to participate in China's space station flight missions, announced a senior official from the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) at a press conference on Wednesday. "We extend an invitation to the world and welcome all countries and regions committed to the peaceful use of outer space to cooperate with us and participate in the Chinese space station missions," said Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA. Lin also vowed to include foreign a ... read more

UK and Axiom sign agreement on plans for historic human spaceflight mission

Russian space boss warns ISS equipment beyond warranty

NASA improves GIANT optical navigation technology for future missions

NASA updates Commercial Crew planning manifest

Hot summer for Europe's reusable rocket engine

Nighttime rehearsal for Ariane 6 towards first flight

Marking 25 Years since Deep Space 1 kickstarted Ion propulsion

Tech agreement sets stage for U.S. private sector space launch sites in Australia

Sampling unique bedrock at the margin unit

Ascending Fang Turret: Sols 3991-3993

NASA is locating ice on Mars with this new map

Curiosity rover finds new evidence of ancient Mars rivers, a key signal for life

China discloses tasks of Shenzhou-17 crewed space mission

Shenzhou 17 docks with Tiangong Space Station

China launches new mission to space station

China able, ready to invite foreign astronauts to its space station

Follow NASA's Starling Swarm in Real Time

Fugro SpAARC's operations set to grow with new funding from Western Australian Govt

French Space Days India 2023 celebrates Indo-French collaboration

Urban Sky announces $9.75M Series A funding round

NASA tech breathes life into potentially game-changing antenna design

Riverside Research taps Spire Global for Space Domain Awareness subcontract

NASA-ISRO radar mission to provide dynamic view of forests, wetlands

Increasing transparency in critical materials price, supply, and demand forecasts

ET phone Dublin? Astrophysicists scan the Galaxy for signs of life

Exoplanet-informed research helps search for radio technosignatures

Webb detects tiny quartz crystals in clouds of hot gas giant

Extreme habitats: Microbial life in Old Faithful Geyser

Uranus aurora discovery offers clues to habitable icy worlds

How NASA is protecting Europa Clipper from space radiation

NASA's Webb Discovers New Feature in Jupiter's Atmosphere

Plot thickens in hunt for ninth planet

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.