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China successfully launched Shenzhou 14 crew to space.

On board with three taikonauts, Shenzhou-14 spacecraft will dock with Tiangong space station in 6.5 hrs, This launch marks the first crewed spaceflight for on-orbit space station construction.

Long March 2F Blasts-off from Jiuquan (CNSA)

At 02:44:06 UTC on June 5, 2022, the Long March 2F Yao 14 carrier rocket carrying the Shenzhou 14 manned spacecraft was ignited and launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. About 577 Seconds later, the Shenzhou 14 manned spacecraft was successfully separated from the rocket and entered the predetermined orbit. The flight crew; Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe were in good condition and the launch was a complete success.

Three Shenzhou14 Astronauts in Space (CMSA)

This is the 23rd flight mission since the establishment of China's manned space project, and the 3rd manned flight mission in the space station phase. After the spacecraft enters orbit, it will conduct autonomous and rapid rendezvous and docking with the space station assembly according to the predetermined procedure. The Shenzhou-14 craft is scheduled to, similar to the previous missions, conduct a fast and autonomic rendezvous and docking; It will pass 6.5 hours to complete 6 orbit changes within 3 laps, and reach the space station — 4.5 hours later, when the spacecraft nears the station— it will pass through the mid-aiming point and the series of waypoints to adjust the attitude to vertical flight and park at the radial (nadir) docking port under the space station.

Station Configuration for Shenzhou14 mission (HDE)

In the follow-up, the astronauts will be stationed in the Tianhe core module to start a 6-month on-orbit residency, and carry out the maintenance and care of the space station platform, the operation of the robotic arm, and EVA spacewalk activities by exiting the cabin, and the transfer of the module, as well as space science experiments and technical experiments

Crew of Shenzhou 14; 刘洋 (Liu Yang) 蔡旭哲 (Cai Xuzhe) and 陈冬 (Chen Dong) Credit: CNSA

Shenzhou-14 will mark the first crewed spaceflight mission to Tianhe at the China Space Station in-orbit assembly stage.

Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe are the first astronauts in the construction phase of the Chinese space station. During the 6-month space life, they will witness the Wentian experimental module, the Mengtian experimental module, the Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft, and the Shenzhou-15 manned spacecraft docking with the Tianhe core module successively, forming a three-cabin three-ship combination body. At that time, with the Tianhe core module as the control center, Wentian and Mengtian experimental modules as the main experimental platforms, the space station that will be looked after all year round will be fully completed.

The space station combination would also see the simultaneous stay of six astronauts in orbit, as the Shenzhou-14 and Shenzhou-15 crew members are expected to conduct their rotation in orbit for about a week, which would be another breakthrough in China's manned spaceflight history.

Senior Colonel Chen Dong, 44, is a veteran taikonaut who visited space in China's Shenzhou-11 manned space mission in 2016 and set the previous record for the longest stay in space by a Chinese astronaut at 33 days (in the Tiangong-2 space lab).

The record was broken by Shenzhou-13 taikonaut Wang Yaping in 2022, and Chen would be able to further surpass that with another 180 days of stay in space in the Shenzhou-14 mission.