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China launches the first manned flight to its space station

China sent three astronauts to the Tianhe space module for the first time. The mission marks another milestone in China’s ambitious space programme.

China sent astronauts into space for the first time in nearly five years. On Thursday night, three astronauts left for China’s Tianhe spacecraft, part of the future Tiangong Station. It was the first manned flight allowed to set GPS on Tianhe. The three-person team left from the Jiuquan Launch Center in the Gobi Desert and arrived a few hours later at the unit, which orbits about 380 kilometers above Earth.

The trio remained in this position for three months, a record for China. The team will continue to complete the Tianhe module, conduct experiments and maintenance work, test materials and conduct spacewalks. In September, the next team of three astronauts rested Captain Ni Haisheng, 56, and two members of his team.

the essence

  • China launched a manned space flight for the first time in nearly five years.
  • A team of three headed to the Chinese space station.
  • The mission is another milestone in Beijing’s ambitious space program.
  • Chinese strongman Xi Jinping is desperately hoping that his country will become the new superpower in space under his leadership, at the expense of its arch-rival America.

The mission marks another milestone in China’s space programme. In 1957, after the successful launch of the Sputnik satellite by the then Soviet Union, the historical leader Mao Zedong was the first to loudly dream of his country’s conquest of space. In 1970, Beijing successfully launched its first satellite. As the Chinese economy gained momentum in the early 1990s, space plans took increasingly concrete forms. Ultimately, the Asian country will send its first astronaut into space in 2003.

China may become the new superpower in space, at the expense of the United States.

Since then, the Chinese have steadily expanded their program. In 2019, they were able to send an unmanned rover to the far side of the moon for the first time. And last month, they managed to land a robot on Mars.

In April, China successfully launched the first module of its space station where astronauts can spend extended periods of time. Later, two more modules will be connected to complete the space station. The space station should be fully operational by the end of 2022 and should be able to operate for ten years.

exclude ISS

Not surprisingly, China is working on its own space station. The country is not welcome on the ISS. The door remains closed due to political objections from the United States driving the partnership. Americans are worried about Chinese military spying.

Earlier this week, China and Russia unveiled another ambitious plan to build a joint research station on the Moon by 2036.

However, the Chinese have sought rapprochement with other nations to cooperate in the race to space. Not least Russia. It plans to gradually withdraw from the International Space Station from 2025. The Russians are also dreaming of their own station, which should operate from 2030.

At the same time, Moscow is open to an alliance with Beijing. Earlier this week, the two superpowers unveiled an ambitious plan to build a joint research station on the Moon by 2036.


Chinese leader Xi Jinping is closely following developments. He is very hopeful that the manned mission to the space station will be a success. That would be a huge boost for several reasons.

It is not just that the Chinese are increasingly embroiled in a battle for technological dominance with the United States. Beijing is also under increasing criticism from the West for violating the human rights of Uighurs and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Xi’s retaliation will taste sweet if, under his leadership, China becomes the new superpower in space at the expense of the United States. On the eve of the centenary of the Communist Party.

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