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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Senior Colonel Liu Yang, a female crew member joining Shenzhou-14, also 44, went to space in 2012 in the Shenzhou-9 mission, and is in fact the first Chinese woman to do so. At a press conference on Sunday, she said that for the upcoming 6-month stay, she and her crewmates are looking forward to celebrating for the first time the birthday of their motherland on October 1 as well as the Mid-Autumn Festival, a holiday for the reunion and gathering of the Chinese people. This year's Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 10.
Senior Colonel Cai Xuzhe, 46, will be making his maiden voyage during the upcoming mission. "For this day, I have prepared 12 years. I feel honored and proud to have this chance to go into space for my country," he said.
The ChangZheng-2F (Long March 2F) rocket is a two-stage semi-launch vehicle specially used for manned launch missions. It consists of a total of 10 systems, such as the detection system and the escape system. The reliability index of the whole rocket is 0.98 and the safety index is 0.997. After continuous technical improvement, the flight reliability evaluation result of the CZ-2F rocket for this manned launch was 0.9894. After performing this mission, the rocket will also carry out the upgrading and transformation of ground measurement, launch and control equipment to further improve safety and reliability.
This launch is the 423rd launch of the Long March series of launch vehicles and the 18th Orbital mission of 2022 from China.