The New China News Agency reports that three astronauts have completed a three-month mission into Earth orbit in the wake of the establishment of the Chinese space station.
Three astronauts departed in June aboard the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft. The official news agency reported that their ninety-day mission was the longest mission ever undertaken by Chinese astronauts in Earth orbit, and did not reveal their return date.
The New China Agency said the vehicle was separated from the Tiangang station three months ago.
The mission comes amid a tense situation between China and the West, and its success is significant for Beijing, which celebrated July 1, the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
China has decided to set up its own unmanned space base after the United States refused to participate in the International Space Station.
In addition, the International Space Station, which connects the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan, will be decommissioned in 2024, even if the US space agency (NASA) does not extend its life beyond 2028.
When completed, the Chinese space agency said the Tiangong weighs about 90 tons and is expected to be operational for at least ten years.
It will be much smaller than the International Space Station and similar to the Soviet Mir space station, which was launched in 1986 and decommissioned in 2001.
11 missions in a year and a half
It is planned to send 11 more missions over the next year and a half to complete the construction of the Tiangang station in orbit, which includes the installation of solar panels and two laboratory units.
China has invested billions of dollars over decades to capture established space powers such as the United States and Russia.
So far, it has been able to send humans into space and send a probe to the moon, with a robot belonging to it landing on Mars a few months ago, the most important space achievement.
The long-term human presence in space will be an important leap in China’s space program.
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