China’s Shenzhou-13 craft successfully docks to Tiangong space station & 3 astronauts enter core module — RT World News

China’s second manned mission reached the Tiangong space station, which is still under construction, on Saturday. The three astronauts left the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft and entered the station’s core module.

The Shenzhou-13 (Divine Vessel), docked successfully to the port at space station’s 6:56am (21.56 GMT).

The three astronauts, or ‘taikonauts’ as the Chinese call them, made it from the vessel to the space station’s Tianhe core module at 10:03am, the China Manned Space Agency announced.

Footage from inside Tiangong shows them greeting mission control back on Earth, becoming acquainted with the station’s equipment, and having some fun in zero-gravity.

The crew – Zhai Zhigang, 55, Wang Yaping, 41, and Ye Guangfu, 41 – will spend the next six months in orbit, making it the longest mission in the history of China’s space program.  

They’ll be testing the technology and robotics necessary to build the station and test onboard life support system.

While this is Ye’s first trip to space, it is the second time for mission commander Zhai, who performed China’s first spacewalk in 2008. Wang was also the first woman to orbit the Tiangong station (2013). also available
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China has been building the space station since April. The ambitious plan is to have it completed by 2022. The station currently includes its largest Tianhe module and Tianzhou-2,3 cargo craft. After 90 days of space travel, the first three astronauts from this crew returned to Earth in September.

China intends to send two additional manned missions from Tiangong to assist Zhai and Wang in their return to Earth on April 20, 2022.

After the ISS stops operating in a few years, Tiangong is likely to be the last station on orbit. also available
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China was not able to join the ISS project – jointly carried out by Russia, the US, Europe, Japan, and Canada – due to US laws barring it from working with NASA.

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