China is launching a manned Shenzhou-16 mission to its area station

The Shenzhou 16 spacecraft and its launch vehicle launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, China, on May 30, 2023.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images

China on Tuesday launched its Shenzhou-16 spacecraft with a crew of three, the China Manned Space Agency said in a statement, calling the launch a “complete success”.

The agency said the Long March 2F rocket carrying the spacecraft launched just after 9:30 a.m. local time from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert.

The spacecraft is en route to the Chinese space station and will relieve the crew of Shenzhou-15, who have been living there since November.

The Shenzhou-16 crew will conduct scientific experiments and maintenance work on the space station’s equipment, CMSA said.

Tuesday’s launch marks China’s fifth manned mission to its space station since astronauts were dispatched in 2021.

In recent years, China has intensified its efforts in space research and exploration. According to state media, a CMSA official said China aims to launch a manned mission to the moon by 2030.

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