China’s Manned Mission Space Agency reported this Tuesday the successful docking of the Shenzhou-16 spacecraft to the Tiangong space station.
The crew of the spacecraft that will spend the next five months at the station is made up of “a veteran with four missions experience, Jing Haipeng, and two rookies, Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao, the first Chinese astronaut who is not a member of the People’s Army of Liberation (Chinese Army)”.
China has invested for several years in technology to send new missions into space. Cosmonauts will serve as Tiangong’s crew members during the application and development phases.
The space station is estimated to operate for ten years. Starting next year, however, it could become “the world’s only space station if the International Space Station, an initiative led by the United States and to which China has banned access due to military ties to its space program, is withdrawn as is planned.”
With information from Swissinfo and international media
(Reference image source: CGTN Europa Press / dpa)