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Timeline unveiled for China's advanced manned spacecraft's inaugural flight
Compared with the Shenzhou series, the nation's current crewed spacecraft, the new model will be capable of conducting longer missions, housing more astronauts and cargo and operating in a tougher environment. File image of a future crewed spacecraft after an orbital reentry test.
Timeline unveiled for China's advanced manned spacecraft's inaugural flight
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jul 19, 2023

China's advanced manned spacecraft is set to embark on its maiden voyage sometime around 2027 and 2028, as revealed by a prominent figure in the nation's manned space program. This innovative development in space technology is currently undergoing research and development, anticipating a capacity to accommodate up to seven astronauts on a single journey, as reported in the Science and Technology Daily.

Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut to journey into space and a deputy chief planner for the nation's manned spaceflights, unveiled these plans during a science teachers' forum held in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province. His speech was later summarized in a Tuesday report by the Science and Technology Daily.

According to Yang, this next-generation spacecraft will play a crucial role in China's future human moon missions and explorations into deeper realms of space. The innovative vessel is not just an advancement in capacity; it is a leap in design and technology, reflecting China's commitment to pushing the boundaries of space exploration.

The new spacecraft is being developed at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), where experts have assured that the design and technologies of the spacecraft are intended to meet international standards. The spacecraft will essentially comprise two main parts, the first being a re-entry module designed to house the astronauts and function as a control center during the space journey. The second part will be a service module that will integrate power and propulsion systems essential for successful space travel.

Specifications for the new vessel reveal an almost 9-meter length, a diameter of about 4.5 meters, and a weight tipping the scales at 22 metric tons. The China Academy of Space Technology views these dimensions and its resultant capacity as a milestone achievement for China's space program.

Compared to the currently deployed Shenzhou series, which holds the record as the nation's present crewed spacecraft, the forthcoming model holds significant improvements. It is envisaged that the new spacecraft will support longer missions, providing increased capacity for astronauts and cargo, and will be able to withstand more challenging space environments.

The announcement of this advanced spacecraft comes amid a period of significant momentum in China's space program. The nation is steadily growing its presence in the international space exploration community, evidenced by numerous successful lunar explorations, the launch of its first independent space station, and ambitious plans for future Mars missions.

China's latest crewed spacecraft sets a precedent for the nation's next wave of space exploration, harnessing advanced designs and technologies to push the boundaries of human presence in space. With the announced timeline, space enthusiasts and experts worldwide will be keenly watching the development of this next-gen spacecraft, marking another significant milestone in the era of international space exploration.

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

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