- Three Chinese astronauts have entered China’s space station (CSS) for the first time, CGTN reported.
- The trio set foot on the CSS less than three hours after the Shenzhou-12 rocket docked.
- The taikonauts will carry out various experiments during their time in space.
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Three taikonauts have entered China’s space station for a three-month mission called Shenzhou-12, state-owned broadcaster CGTN reported Saturday.
This makes them the first Chinese to ever reach a space station and the first astronauts to set foot in the new Chinese Space Station (CSS), according to the broadcaster.
Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo lifted off aboard the Chinese rocket Shenzhou-12 on Thursday. The rocket took them to the core module of the CSS, known as Tianhe, which China launched into space in April.
The taikonauts entered the CSS less than three hours after Shenzhou-12 docked, CGTN said.
The trio will unpack their supplies, and set up internet connections and other equipment on the CSS, which is still under development, CGTN reported.
During their three-month stay, the taikonauts will carry out various experiments, including testing the Tianhe module’s life-support capabilities and check communications between the space station and mission controllers on Earth.
They’ll also conduct spacewalks to test new spacesuits and robot arms.
The 66-tonne Tianhe module is considerably smaller than the International Space Station (ISS), which weighs 450 tonnes. The whole space station is made up of the Tianhe and a supply ship Tianzhou-2.
Only three astronauts can fit in the Tianhe at one time.
The goal is for China to send taikonauts to the CSS for six-month stints, Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnson reported. Thursday’s launch was the third of 11 planned launches to finish building the CSS in 2022.
The future eight missions will involve launching two more modules, three more cargo shipments, and three more astronaut crews.