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About China’s Shenzhou-16 Spacecraft Launched


China launched a spacecraft carrying three astronauts, including its first civilian, to its Tiangong space station.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About New Mission to the Tiangong Space Station
  2. Tiangong Space Station

About New Mission to the Tiangong Space Station:

  • The new mission aims to replace the crew of Shenzhou-15 aboard the Tiangong space station, who have been there since November of the previous year.
  • The newly arrived crew will stay on the space station for the next five months.

Mission Goals:

  • Conduct large-scale in-orbit tests and experiments in various fields as planned.
  • Achieve high-level scientific advancements in the study of novel quantum phenomena, high-precision space time-frequency systems, the verification of general relativity, and the origin of life.

Manned Mission History:

  • This mission marks China’s fifth manned mission to a fully functional space station since 2021.
Launch Details:
  • The spacecraft, Shenzhou-16, was launched atop a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert in northwest China at 9:31 am.
  • According to the Director of Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, Zou Lipeng, the launch was a “complete success,” and the astronauts are reported to be in good condition.

Tiangong Space Station:

  • Operated by China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the Tiangong space station is China’s ambitious project to establish a permanently inhabited space station for scientific research and space exploration.
  • Construction: The first module of the Tiangong space station entered orbit in 2021, with two more modules added in subsequent years.
  • US-China Relations: China developed its own space station after the United States barred NASA from collaborating with China due to concerns of espionage.
Objectives and Expansion:
  • Scientific Outpost: The Tiangong space station is expected to become the primary in-orbit outpost for scientific research once the operations of the International Space Station (ISS) conclude in 2030.
  • Expansion Plans: China has announced plans to expand the space station, intending to add additional modules to create a cross-shaped structure.
International Collaboration:
  • Invitation to Collaborate: China has invited other countries and companies to collaborate and carry out experiments at its space station, signaling openness to international cooperation in space exploration.
  • Missions: China’s space agency, CMSA, has planned three space missions for the space station’s application and development in 2023, including the Shenzhou-16 manned mission, the cargo craft Tianzhou-6, and the second crewed spaceship, Shenzhou-17.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024