China Launches 3 Astronauts On 6-Month Space Station Mission

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the crewed spaceship Shenzhou-13, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi Desert, Oct. 16, 2021. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP)

(AP) — China has launched three astronauts to its space station for a record-setting six-month stay for the country. The spacecraft blasted off early Saturday and was due to dock at the space station about six hours later.

The three astronauts are the second crew to move into the new space station, which was launched last April. The first crew spent three months at the orbiting outpost.

China’s military-run space program plans to send multiple crews to the station over the next two years to make it fully functional. The new crew will do spacewalks to install equipment in preparation for expanding the station, assess living conditions and conduct experiments.


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