Shenzhou 17 Mission: China’s 12th Manned Space Mission
China saw Shenzhou 17 mission, the Long March 2F rocket carried the crew ship off into space from the Jinquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert today morning (October 26). The successful launch is China’s 12th manned mission to space. This is part of the Asian giant’s preparation to send mankind to the Moon b 2030.
Tang Hongbo, a former air force pilot who was on the crewed mission to China’s Tiangong space station in 2021, is heading the six-month mission. Tang Shengjie, 33, and Jiang Xinlin, 35, are also on this mission, but they are first-time space travelers.
Their spacecraft docked at the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong space station at 5.46pm – on the evening of October 26, less than 6.5 hours after its successful launch. They will meet the Shenzhou XVI mission crew, who have been in orbit for nearly five months.
A Very Young Chinese Crew in Space
The China Manned Space Agency says the average age of the three-member crew is the youngest, that is 38, since the launch of the space station construction mission. They will conduct experiments in space medicine, space technology and other areas, and help install and maintain the equipment inside and outside the station.
The Chinese space agency plans to send a new telescope to probe deep into the universe. The telescope will also enable surveys and mapping of the sky. Striving to become a leader in space exploration and science, China has also researched the movement of stars and planets for thousands of years.
After the United States pushed it out of the International Space Station over fears that the Chinese would take over control of the program via the People’s Liberation Army, China built its own space station.
China Aims for the Moon
China is very ambitious about its space exploration and is currently aiming for the Moon. Moreover, China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) has been calling for increased global collaboration for the lunar unmanned lunar expedition. It would welcome joint mission-level projects with other countries and international organizations.
China’s Chang’e-7 is expected in 2026 and Chang’e-8 mission for 2028.