China’s Shenzhou 16 Space Launch29th May 2023
Update: Successful Docking
Shenzhou-16 spacecraft docked with the nation’s space station about seven hours after taking off. The launch of China’s latest manned space mission was a success. About 10 minutes after blast-off, Shenzhou-16 separated from the Long March-2F carrier rocket and entered its designated orbit. Later in the afternoon, the spacecraft successfully docked with the Tiangong space station.
Record for the number of people in orbit
The launch of Shenzhou-16 made it possible to update the record for the number of people in orbit. At the moment there are 17 people there, while the previous achievement was 14 people. They are distributed as follows: six Chinese, five Americans, three Russians, two astronauts from Saudi Arabia and one from the UAE.
China is about to embark on another space launch and send its next crew of three astronauts to the Tiangong Space Station. The Shenzhou 16 manned spacecraft will be launched tonight, on 30th May, at 2:31 am GMT UK time, The March 2F rocket will take flight from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The spacecraft is expected to dock the Earth-orbiting space station shortly after launching.
How To Watch The Launch
The launch is being streamed live from China and will show all the action leading up to – and after – take-off. The Shenzhou 16 spacecraft is docked atop of a long March 2F rocket at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and will take flight around 2:31 am London time on 30th May. Excitement is escalating and hopes are firmly set on a successful launch to China’s Tiangong Space Station. So, click the link or hit play below to watch live.
Who Are The Three Astronauts?
The crew on board the Shenzhou 16 was named on 29th May – a day before the launch – via a press conference at the satellite launch centre by the China National Space Administration. The astronauts on board will be led by mission commander Jing Haipeng – who headed the Shenzhou 7, 9 and 11 missions. The two other astronauts will make their first inaugural trip to space, namely space flight engineer Zhu Yangzhu and China’s first civilian astronaut, Gui Haichao.
Why Is Shenzhou 16 Heading for Tiangong Space Station?
The Shenzhou 16 crew will relieve the current Shenzhou 15 team, who have been on board since November last year. The current team aboard China’s space station will hand over control before heading home in early June 2023. According to Chinese state media, all prior preparations and tests have been successful, and the new team of astronauts will shortly commence the start of their six-month mission on board the space station.
China’s three-module Tiangong Space Station was completed in late 2022, and the country is aiming to keep the orbital station crewed at all times for the next decade. China is also seeking ways to welcome foreign astronauts on the outpost as well as commercial flights including tourism. However, before talks on commercialisation and welcoming foreign astronauts take place, the orbiting outpost will first see Shenzhou 16 docking very soon!