The Shenzhou XII spacecraft took off from China’s Tiangong space station on Thursday morning and carried three Chinese astronauts on their way back to Earth, China’s space agency reported with manned equipment. Space station crew returns home.
A brief statement said the spacecraft left the station’s main module at 8:56 a.m. and began orbiting Earth on its own.
Sources close to the program said the spacecraft will land on Friday at the Dongfeng landing site in the Badein Jaran desert in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Prior to his departure, the commander of the astronaut mission, Major General Nie Haisheng, Major General Liu Boming and Senior Colonel Tan Hongbo configured the space station, returned some experimental data to ground control and organized materials on the station, the agency said. .
After Shenzhou XII detached from the main module, it flew around the module and mistakenly docked with another hatch outside the module, explaining that the simulated mooring was meant to test future space technology with the crew to the station.
As of Thursday morning, the crew spent 91 days in space, nearly three times longer than the Shenzhou XI mission, where Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong spent 33 days in orbit.
Shenzhou XII was launched by the Long March 2F launcher which exploded on June 17 from the Jiuquan satellite launch center in northwest China. The astronauts arrived in Tiangong that day and became the first occupants of the station.
He and his crew were tasked with testing and verifying plans, technology, and equipment for critical elements of Tiangong Station’s construction and operation, such as astronauts’ long-range missions, their life support systems, orbital supply, extra-sea activities and maintenance, and spacecraft repair. .
Their work is intended to enable China’s space agency with manned teams to gain experience and test the capability, performance and compatibility of systems included in the space station’s program in preparation for the next steps in construction.
During the mission, the astronauts perform two space activities, or space trips, using large robotic arms and other equipment to install and adjust equipment off the station. They also conducted a series of science experiments and technology tests, and conducted video interviews with President Xi Jinping and hundreds of researchers, teachers and students in Hong Kong.
The Quarter XII Shenzhou Mission, the seventh manned space transition, is part of the Tiangong program, which aims to complete a three-component station in near-Earth orbit by the end of next year.
In another development, the Tianzhou 3 cargo spacecraft and the Ro Long 7 March rocket were brought to the launch tower at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on Thursday morning, according to a separate statement from the manned space agency. The robotic spacecraft will be sent to Tiangong Station in the near future. Reuters