China preparing for first crew to go to country's new space station
China is preparing to send its first crew to the country’s new space station in a flight set to tentatively happen next Wednesday.
The Long March-2F Y12 rocket will carry the Shenzhou-12 spaceship and three astronauts to the Tianhe space station the Chinese government put into orbit at the end of April, The Associated Press reported.
The China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement Wednesday the rocket and spaceship were moved to a launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, according to the AP.
The three astronauts will be at the station for three months as they complete maintenance work, spacewalks and science experiments.
There are 11 missions planned for cargo and other astronauts to go to the space station by the end of 2022.
The astronauts going to space will be a mix of men and women and those who are experienced and new to space travel, the AP noted.
Another launch is set for September with a crew that will replace the one set to go up next Wednesday.
All of the astronauts were pilots in China’s People’s Liberation Army, according to the AP.
There was another cargo spacecraft that was launched last month in order for the crew to have food, fuel and other equipment when they got to the station. The station will have two laboratory modules and other equipment by the end of next year.