October 3, 2022

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China sending up next space station crew in June

China will launch three more astronauts to its newest space station in June after the latest crew returned this weekend following a six-month stay in orbit, an official said Sunday.

The crew of the Shenzhou 14 capsule will spend six months on the Tiangong to add two modules to the station, Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, told a news conference.

China’s ambitious space programme launched its first astronaut into orbit in 2003, landed robot rovers on the moon in 2013, and on Mars last year. Officials have discussed a possible crewed mission to the moon.

The core module of the Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, was launched in April 2021. Plans call for completing construction this year.