China to launch manned spacecraft
Beijing: China is set to launch the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft on Monday, authorities announced on Sunday.
The spacecraft will take two male astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong into space, said Wu Ping, deputy director of China’s manned space engineering office, at a press conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.
The mission will be carried out with a Long March-2F carrier rocket, Wu said.
The spacecraft will dock with orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 within two days, and the astronauts will stay in the space lab for 30 days, Xinhua news agency reported.
After that, the Shenzhou-11 spaceship will separate with Tiangong-2 and return to Earth within one day, Wu added.
The mission aims to transport personnel and materials between Earth and Tiangong-2, and examine rendezvous, docking and return technologies.
During the mission, the spacecraft will form a complex with Tiangong-2. The complex’s capabilities of supporting astronauts’ life, work and health, and astronauts’ abilities for carrying out flight missions will be tested, Wu said.
Other objectives include conducting aerospace medical experiments, space science experiments and in-orbit maintenance with human participation, along with activities to popularize scientific knowledge, she added.
To further improve the spacecraft’s reliability and astronauts’ safety, wide-beam relay telecommunications devices have been equipped, which will significantly expand the scope of telemetry, tracking and control, as well as improve the space-ground communication support capabilities when the posture of the spacecraft is changing rapidly.