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China Rocket

Founded on pad, China prepared to send 1st team to space station

BEIJING (AP) — The rocket that will send the first crew members to live on China’s new orbiting space station has been moved onto the launch pad ahead of its planned blastoff next week.The three astronauts plan to spend three months on the space station, far exceeding the length of any previous Chinese mission. They…

BEIJING (AP) — The rocket which will send the first crew members to reside on China’s new orbiting space station has been moved onto the launching pad before its projected blastoff next week.

The three astronauts plan to spend three months on the space channel, far surpassing the duration of any previous Chinese mission. They will perform spacewalks, construction and maintenance work and execute science experiments.

The principal section of the Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, channel was launched into orbit April 29. Cargo spacecraft delivered last month transported fuel, food and equipment to the station in preparation for the crewed mission.

The Long March-2F Y12 rocket carrying the Shenzhou-12 spaceship was moved to the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Wednesday, the China Manned Space Engineering Office stated in a brief announcement. Its tentative launch date is next Wednesday.

The space agency plans a total of 11 launches through the end of next year to deliver two lab modules to enlarge the 70-ton station, together with supplies and team members. Next week’s launch are the third of these, and the first of the four crewed missions planned.

Another cargo mission is planned for September, shortly and a replacement crew is going to be sent up, according to reports. The station’s other two modules have to be launched next year.

China said in March that the astronauts training for the upcoming paychecks assignments were a mixture of space travel veterans and newcomers and comprised some women. China has sent 11 astronauts to space so far, most of

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