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China - NON-MILITARY space activities & Space Industry

samsara

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China unveils new Mars images showing national flag on red planet
Source: Xinhua | 2021-06-11 10:03:48 | Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The China National Space Administration (CNSA) Friday released new images taken by the country's first Mars rover Zhurong, showing national flag on the red planet.

The images were unveiled at a ceremony in Beijing, signifying a complete success of China's first mars exploration mission.

The images include the landing site panorama, Martian landscape and a selfie of the rover with the landing platform.

View attachment 752278 View attachment 752279 View attachment 752280 View attachment 752281
New photos and Easter eggs of Tianwen-1 probe Zhurong rover landing on Mars
天问一号(祝融号火星车)着陆火星新照片与彩蛋


New photos and Easter eggs of Tianwen-1 probe Zhurong rover landing on Mars
天问一号(祝融号火星车)着陆火星新照片与彩蛋
天問一號(祝融號火星車)著陸火星新照片與彩蛋

CNSA Watcher 2021.06.11:
 

LKJ86

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China launches four satellites by a Long March-2D rocket
Source: Xinhua | 2021-06-11 12:39:06 | Editor: huaxia

TAIYUAN, June 11 (Xinhua) -- China sent four satellites into planned orbits from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province Friday.

The satellites were launched by a Long March-2D rocket at 11:03 a.m. (Beijing Time).

This was the 373rd flight mission of the Long March rocket series, the launch center said.

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LKJ86

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China discloses tasks of Shenzhou-12 manned spaceflight mission
Source: Xinhua | 2021-06-16 11:27:11 | Editor: huaxia

JIUQUAN, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming Shenzhou-12 manned spaceflight mission aims to conduct in-orbit verification of major technologies in China's space station construction and operation, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) on Wednesday.

The technologies to be tested include those concerning the astronauts' long-term stay and health care, recycling and life support system, supply of space materials, extravehicular activities and operations, as well as in-orbit maintenance, said Ji Qiming, assistant to the director of the CMSA, at a press conference.

The Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship, with three astronauts aboard, is expected to be launched at 9:22 a.m. Thursday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, Ji said.

This will be the first manned mission during the construction of China's space station, and the crew will stay in orbit for three months, he said.

Assisted by the mechanical arm, astronauts will carry out extravehicular activities for a relatively long time for operations including equipment installation and maintenance, Ji said.

The space-Earth transport system for manned space missions will be tested further as part of the mission, he added.

The improved Long March-2F carrier rocket has higher reliability and safety, while the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship is upgraded from previous versions with new capabilities such as fast autonomous rendezvous and docking, rendezvous and docking in radial direction as well as in-orbit docking for up to 180 days, he said.

The mission will carry out multi-field space applications and experiments, and for the first time examine the astronaut research and rescue capabilities at the Dongfeng landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ji said.
 

GumNaam

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Congrats China! 👏👏👏🇨🇳🇨🇳🇨🇳

Can't wait to see the video of the Chinese tikonauts entering their new home, the Chinese space station...😊
 
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sheik

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China launches crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12 in historic mission

Carlos Garcia


The Long March-2F Y12 rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and three astronauts, takes off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center for China's first manned mission to build its space station, near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China June 17, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

JIUQUAN, China, June 17 (Reuters) - China launched a spacecraft on Thursday carrying three astronauts to part of a space station still under construction for the longest stay in low Earth orbit by any Chinese national.

A Long March 2F rocket transporting the Shenzhou-12, or "Divine Vessel", bound for the space station module Tianhe blasted off at 9:22 a.m. Beijing time (0122 GMT) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu province.

Shenzhou-12 is the third of 11 missions - four of which will be crewed - needed to complete China's first full-fledged space station. Construction began in April with the launch of Tianhe, the first and largest of three modules.

The astronauts Nie Haisheng, 56, Liu Boming, 54, and Tang Hongbo, 45, are to work and stay on Tianhe, the living quarters of the future space station, for three months.

During their sojourn on the cylinder-like Tianhe, slightly bigger than a city bus, the three men will test the module's technologies including its life-support system.

The men will also be monitored for how they fare in space physically and psychologically for an extended period of time. An upcoming mission to the space station will last six months.

"This will be the first crewed flight in the space station (construction) phase, and I'm lucky to be able to have the 'first baton'," Nie told reporters in Jiuquan a day before the launch.

The veteran astronaut has been hailed by his team as a bastion of stability and a teacher figure who constantly challenges others with tough questions.

"As long as we have him in our hearts, we have nothing to fear," fellow astronaut Wang Yaping, who is part of the Shenzhou-12 backup team, told state media previously.

"In our crew, elder brother Nie is like the needle that stills the sea," she said.

Liu Boming, like Nie, was from the first batch of astronauts selected in the 1990s for China's space programme.

Known for his intellect, Liu is often addressed by his colleagues as "Little Zhuge", the renowned military strategist who lived in China two millennia ago.

On the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008, Liu famously used a crowbar to pry open the hatch after it refused to open.

Former air force pilot Tang Hongbo, 45, was from a later batch of astronauts, and trained for more than a decade before being selected for his first spaceflight on Shenzhou-12.

"I've waited for 11 years, and finally I'm ready, and I can contribute my strength," Tang told reporters on Wednesday.

Since 2003, China has launched six crewed missions and sent 11 astronauts into space, including Zhai Zhigang, who carried out China's first space walk ever on the 2008 Shenzhou mission.


Reporting by Carlos Garcia and Shubing Wang; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Tom Hogue

 
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sheik

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Shenzhou-12: China launches first crew to new space station

China has launched three astronauts into orbit to begin occupation of the country's new space station.

The three men - Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo - are to spend three months aboard the Tianhe module some 380km (236 miles) above the Earth.

It will be China's longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years.

On Thursday, their Shenzhou-12 capsule successfully took off atop its Long March 2F rocket.

Lift-off from the Jiuquan satellite launch centre in the Gobi desert was at 09:22 Beijing time (01:22 GMT).

The launch and subsequent mission are another demonstration of China's growing confidence and capability in the space domain.

In the past six months, the country has returned rock and soil samples to Earth from the surface of the Moon, and landed a six-wheeled robot on Mars - both highly complex and challenging endeavours.


What will the crew do in space?

The primary objective for Commander Nie Haishen and his team on the Shenzhou-12 mission is to bring the 22.5-tonne Tianhe module into service.

"I have a lot of expectations," Mr Nie said ahead of the launch.

"We need to set up our new home in space and test a series of new technologies. So, the mission is tough and challenging. I believe with the three of us working closely together, doing thorough and accurate operations, we can overcome our challenges. We have the confidence to complete the mission."



The Shenzhou-12 capsule successfully took off atop its Long March 2F rocket

This 16.6m-long, 4.2m-wide Tianhe cylinder was launched in April.

It is the first and core component in what will eventually be a near 70-tonne orbiting outpost, comprising living quarters, science labs and even a Hubble-class telescope to view the cosmos.

The various elements will be launched in turn over the course of the next couple of years. The construction will be accompanied by regular cargo deliveries, as well as crew expeditions.


What do we know about the astronauts?

The Chinese authorities kept the identities of the Shenzhou-12 astronauts under wraps until a press conference on Wednesday.

Nie Haisheng, 56, is said to be China's oldest astronaut in space.

He is a veteran of two previous flights, which included a 15-day visit in 2013 to the prototype space station, Tiangong-1. This has since been de-orbited.

His crewmates, Liu Boming (54) and Tang Hongbo (45), are also from an air force background. Liu's earlier spaceflight experience was on the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008 that saw him participate in China's first ever spacewalk.



Tang Hongbo (L), Nie Haisheng (C) and Liu Boming (R) spoke to reporters on Wednesday from behind glass - a pre-flight quarantine measure

Mr Tang is the rookie on this occasion, having never before gone into orbit.

The food, fuel and equipment the trio will need during their stay aboard Tianhe was delivered by a robotic freighter last month.

This freighter is still attached, and the men will make unpacking its supplies their first task as soon as they've settled in. Included in the delivery are two spacesuits they'll need to conduct spacewalks on the exterior of Tianhe.


What are China's space ambitions?

China has in recent years made no secret of its space ambitions.

It has poured significant funding into its space efforts, and in 2019 became the first country to send an un-crewed rover to the far side of the Moon.

But it's had to go at it alone in developing a space station, in part because it has been excluded from the International Space Station project.

The US, which leads that partnership (with Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan) will not co-operate with the Asian nation in orbit.




For its part, China says it is prepared to open its station to foreign involvement. This is likely in the first instance to mean hosted scientific experiments, but very probably also will involve visits by non-Chinese nationals.

Russia, which has shared technology in the past with China, has mentioned in the past the possibility of sending its cosmonauts.

At Wednesday's press conference to introduce the Shenzhou-12 crew, Ji Qiming, an assistant director with China's human spaceflight agency, said: "We welcome co-operation in this regard in general."

"It is believed that, in the near future, after the completion of the Chinese space station, we will see Chinese and foreign astronauts fly and work together," he added.

President Xi Jinping has also thrown his support behind the country's space endeavours and the Chinese state media regularly cast the "space dream" as one step in the path to "national rejuvenation".


 

sheik

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China successfully launches mission sending astronauts to new space station

By Jessie Yeung and Yong Xiong, CNN
Updated 11:05 PM ET, Wed June 16, 2021

Hong Kong (CNN) -- China successfully launched three astronauts into space on Thursday, bringing the country one step closer to completing its new space station.

The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, or Divine Vessel, was launched on a Long March-2F carrier rocket Thursday morning, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi Desert.

The mission will send the crew to the core module of the planned space station, called Tiangong or Heavenly Palace, which is still under construction in a low Earth orbit.


A Long March-2F rocket carrying a crew of Chinese astronauts in a Shenzhou-12 spaceship lifts off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwestern China, on June 17, 2021.

A Long March-2F rocket carrying a crew of Chinese astronauts in a Shenzhou-12 spaceship lifts off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwestern China, on June 17, 2021.

The spacecraft will dock with the core module about six and a half hours after launch, according to state media CCTV. The crew will stay in orbit for three months, during which the life support system and maintenance will be tested.

The Shenzhou-12 mission is the first crewed mission and the third launch of a total of 11 launches for China's space station construction. This is also China's first manned mission in nearly five years.

During the three months, two astronauts will conduct two long-duration spacewalks. After this mission, another three crewed spacecrafts and two laboratory modules will be sent to the space station, with the aim of completing its construction by the end of 2022.

The three-man crew

On Wednesday, the Chinese space agency announced the lineup for the three-man crew. The mission is led by Nie Haisheng, the oldest member of the team and a former fighter pilot with the People's Liberation Army.

Recruited to the space program in 1998, Nie came close to becoming China's first man in space. He was one of three astronauts tipped for the task, although Yang Liwei would ultimately have that honor.
Monday's launch marks Nie's third trip into space, having been aboard China's first mission with more than one astronaut in 2005, and its 2013 mission to test its docking technology.

In a 2015 interview with CNN, Nie said he had named his daughter Tianxiang, which means "flying in the sky." When Nie turned 41 -- during his first mission to space -- his daughter sang "happy birthday" to him from mission control.

Liu Boming, the second oldest team member, joined China's 2008 space mission, in which he helped Zhai Zhigang become the first Chinese astronaut to conduct a spacewalk.

He is expected to play a crucial role during outside cabin operations in this mission, according to state-run Global Times.

The crew's youngest member, Tang Hongbo, is the only one of the three yet to travel to space, despite training for 11 years, according to state media.

All three are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Global Times reported -- noting that the mission's duration coincides with the Party's 100-year anniversary, a major national event set for July 1.

International space missions

The International Space Station (ISS) has housed more than 200 astronauts from 19 different countries -- but not China.

Chinese astronauts are locked out of the ISS due to US political objections and legislative restrictions -- which is why it's been a long-standing goal for China to build a station of its own.

Russia, a longtime contributor on the ISS, has also left the project and is now considering its own space station to launch by 2030.

China's space program has expanded rapidly in the past decade -- in the last seven months alone, the country's scientists have already successfully landed exploratory rovers on the moon in December and on Mars in May.

In April, they successfully launched the first module of the space station. The station will need to be assembled from several modules launching at different times. If successfully completed, the station is expected to operate for 10 years.

Russia's departure from the ISS, China's space station, and the fact that the ISS is due to run out of funding in the next few years could potentially signal an end to an unparalleled era of international cooperation in space.

But Nie, the leader of the Shenzhou-12 mission, told CNN in 2015 he was keen to work with other nations and that foreign astronauts would be welcome to visit China's own space station, echoing the Chinese government's previous statements.

"As an astronaut, I have a very strong desire to fly space missions with astronauts from other countries," Nie said. "And I look forward to the opportunity go to the International Space Station."


CNN's Ben Westcott and Steven Jiang contributed reporting.

 

LKJ86

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China launches first crewed mission for space station construction
Source: Xinhua | 2021-06-17 11:23:51 | Editor: huaxia

JIUQUAN, June 17 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday successfully launched the crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, which is expected to send three astronauts to its space station core module Tianhe for a three-month mission.

It is China's seventh crewed mission to space and the first during the construction of China's space station. It is also the first in nearly five years after the country's last manned mission.

The spacecraft, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi Desert at 9:22 a.m. (Beijing Time), according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

About 573 seconds after the launch, Shenzhou-12 separated from the rocket and entered its designated orbit. The Shenzhou-12 crew is in good shape and the launch is a complete success, the CMSA declared.

The three astronauts are commander Nie Haisheng, a 56-year-old veteran who participated in the Shenzhou-6 and Shenzhou-10 missions, Liu Boming, 54, who was part of the Shenzhou-7 mission, and Tang Hongbo, 45, who is in his first space mission.

The three astronauts are expected to set a new record for China's manned space mission duration, exceeding the 33 days kept by the Shenzhou-11 crew in 2016.

The Shenzhou-12 spaceship will conduct a fast autonomous rendezvous and docking with the in-orbit space station core module Tianhe, forming a complex with Tianhe and the cargo craft Tianzhou-2. The astronauts will be stationed in the core module.

Their work will be more complicated and challenging than previous crewed missions, according to CMSA director Hao Chun.

The Shenzhou-12 crew will complete four major tasks in orbit, said Ji Qiming, assistant to the CMSA director, at a press conference held at the launch center on Wednesday.

First, they will operate and manage the complex, including the in-orbit test of the Tianhe module, verification of the recycling and life support system, testing and operation training of the robotic arm, as well as management of materials and waste.

Second, they will move, assemble and test extravehicular spacesuits and perform two extravehicular activities (EVAs) for work including assembling an extravehicular toolbox, lifting the panoramic camera and installing extended pump sets.

Third, they will carry out space science experiments and technology experiments, as well as public outreach activities.

Fourth, they will manage their own health through daily life care, physical exercise, and regular monitoring and assessment of their own health status.

China launched its space station core module Tianhe on April 29 and cargo craft Tianzhou-2 on May 29. The two completed a computer-orchestrated rendezvous and docking on May 30, waiting for the first crewed mission to unpack the cargo.

According to the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), more than 160 large and small packages, including supplies for astronauts and space-science equipment, were delivered by Tianzhou-2 in late May.

Hao noted that it is a critical technology for a long-term crewed mission to guarantee the astronauts' life and work in space.

Meanwhile, EVAs will be more and more common for astronauts in later missions for the space station construction, posing new challenges for them, Hao added.

He said that EVAs will be a comprehensive assessment of the technologies in EVA spacesuits and supporting systems, the EVA procedures, as well as the astronauts' operation, commanding and coordination.

According to Hao, the two EVA spacesuits for this mission have been improved to enable more complicated and longer-duration operations, and a variety of equipment inside and outside Tianhe, including a mechanical arm, will also support the spacewalk.

"After passing the assessment, we will be more proficient and experienced in EVA. In the following missions, EVA will be regular work that must be done," he said.

Liu Weibo, deputy chief designer of the astronaut system of China's manned space program, said that the improved spacesuits, both designed and developed by Chinese engineers, can enable astronauts to have EVAs for seven to eight hours.

The Tianzhou-3 cargo craft and the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship will also be launched later this year to dock with Tianhe, and another three astronauts will then begin their six-month stay in orbit, according to the CMSA.

After the five launch missions this year, China plans to have six more missions, including the launch of the Wentian and Mengtian lab modules, two cargo spacecraft and two crewed spaceships, in 2022 to complete the construction of the space station.

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