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China set to launch manned mission into space

China set to launch manned mission into space

 
- Astronauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie, Jiang Xinlin aboard Shenzhou-17 spaceflight set for launch on Thursday

- Belarus, Pakistan join China’s lunar research station
 

By Riyaz ul Khaliq and Burc Eruygur

ISTANBUL (AA) - China is set to launch a manned mission into space, the country’s Manned Space Agency said Wednesday.

Three astronauts, locally known as taikonauts, Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin, will be aboard Shenzhou-17 spaceflight mission, which will be blasted into space on Thursday.

Tang will lead the mission as commander. It is sixth crewed spaceflight by China.

The mission is set to be launched at around 11.14 a.m. local time (0314GMT) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.

According to Beijing-based daily Global Times, this space mission “will form the youngest Shenzhou crew since the construction of the China Space Station.”

China’s own space station – Tiangong space station – has already been completed and is operational since last December. China first established its space program back in 1992.

According to the agency, the Shenzhou-17 spacecraft is expected to dock with the Tianhe core module after nearly 6.5 hours following the launch.

It will remain and work in space until April 2024.

Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of China’s space agency, also said Beijing was “ready to invite foreign astronauts to participate in China's space station flight missions.”

Regarding China’s plans on manned lunar landing by 2030, Lin said Beijing will “include foreign astronauts in the country’s moon-landing mission once the necessary conditions are met.”

Since the establishment of the space program, Lin said China has “never pursued ’space hegemony’ ... rather, we have consistently upheld the peaceful use of space.”






- Belarus, Pakistan join China’s lunar research station

Pakistan and Belarus have come aboard the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), a China-led project that is planned to be constructed in the 2030s.

Islamabad and Beijing signed a memorandum of understanding last week to conduct “extensive and in-depth cooperation in the demonstration, project implementation, operation and application” of the station.

The two sides will establish an expert working group,” China National Space Administration said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences said it will develop cooperation with Beijing in the “process of creating and operating” the planned ILRS.

The areas of cooperation will “focus on the fields of engineering and technology for space applications, new materials and electronic components, as well as training and advanced training of scientific personnel and specialists,” said the statement.




*Islamuddin Sajid contributed to this story from Pakistan.

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