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China successfully launches Shenzhou-16 manned spacecraft

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Beijing : China successfully launched the Shenzhou-16 manned spacecraft from its space station this morning. With this, three astronauts including a common citizen left for this five-month mission.

According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the spacecraft was launched by a Long March-2F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 9:31 am (China time) on Tuesday. About 10 minutes after launch, Shenzhou-16 separated from the rocket and entered its designated orbit. Crew members are fine. The launch was a complete success.

The astronauts are expected to arrive at the station’s Tianhe core module, about 400 km above the ground, after a journey of less than seven hours. Lin Shiqiang, deputy director of CMSA, says Shenzhou-16 is the first crewed mission after China’s space station program entered the development phase.

Gui Haichao, a professor at Beihang University in Beijing, is among the three astronauts. The commander of this mission is Jing Haipeng. He is going to create history by becoming the first Chinese astronaut to go into space for a record fourth time. Astronaut flight engineer Zhu Yangzhu is making the first trip into space.