The mission, the first crew to the orbital station, conducted a rapid self-encounter and docked at the Tianhe Central Unit’s forward docking port at 07:54 UTC, CMSA reported (China manned space agency).
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Shenzhou 12 It took off six and a half hours ago aboard a Long March-2F carrier rocket. The spacecraft was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in northwest China.
It is the seventh Chinese manned space mission and the first during the construction of the Chinese space station China manned space agency (CMSA). It is also the first in nearly five years after the last manned mission in the country.
The three astronauts are Commander Ni Haisheng, a 56-year-old veteran of the Shenzhou-6 and Shenzhou-10 missions, Liu Beoming, 54, who was part of the Shenzhou-7 mission, and Tang Hongbo, 45. The old one, which is on its first space mission.
With a planned three-month mission, they are expected to set a new record for the duration of a Chinese manned space mission, surpassing the 33 days held by the Shenzhou-11 crew in 2016.
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After entering orbit, the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft docked with the central unit of the Earth-orbiting Tianhe Space Station, forming a complex with Tianhe and the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship. The astronauts will be stationed in the central unit.
CMSA Director Hao Chun, citing Xinhua, explained that their job will be more complex and difficult than previous manned missions.
The crew of Shenzhou-12 will complete four major missions in orbit, Ji Zhiming, assistant director of CMSA, said at a press conference at the launch center on Wednesday.
First, they will operate and manage the complex, including in-orbit testing of the Tianhe module, verification of the recycling and life support system, testing and operational training of the robotic arm, as well as material and waste management.
Second, they will move, assemble, and test the EV spacesuits and perform two EVA activities for the task that includes assembling an EVA toolbox, lifting the panoramic camera, and installing the extended pump assemblies.
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Third, they will conduct experiments in space science and technology, as well as public outreach activities.
Fourth, they will monitor their health through daily living care, physical exercise, regular monitoring and assessment of their health status.
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