China prepares to launch Shenzhou-16 crewed spaceship
Updated 21:48, 22-May-2023

The combination of the Shenzhou-16 crewed spaceship and a Long March-2F carrier rocket were transferred to the launch site in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Monday, the China Manned Space Agency (CMS) said.

Wang Xuewu, deputy director of Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, said to ensure the consistent and stable status of the rocket, the whole process including assembly, test and transport has to be conducted vertically.

Prior to the launch, Wang said to China Media Group that the center has made full preparation to ensure the success of the mission.

"First, we have fully restored the ground facilities and equipment and created rescue conditions for emergency launch. Second, before the transport of the combination, we worked with colleagues from all relevant departments to run a comprehensive and systematic review and re-examination, including running operational examinations, in order to fulfill the mission at our best," said Wang.

The follow-up work including checks and joint tests will be carried out as planned and the rocket will be launched in a designated date. The crew members of the new spaceship will be arriving soon to take part in the tests and rehearsal.

The new spacecraft will carry three taikonauts, or Chinese astronauts, to the China Space Station, where they will meet with the three-member Shenzhou-15 crew.

The Shenzhou-16 spacecraft was assembled in late 2022. The logo for the mission was revealed in March, which incorporates the "Kun," a sacred animal from Chinese mythology that flies extremely high and far in a steady manner.

China plans to launch two manned spacecraft and one or two cargo spacecraft into space every year, according to CMS.

China launched the Tianzhou-6 cargo spacecraft on May 10, which carried supplies for the Shenzhou-16 crew to the space station.

The next manned mission will be Shenzhou-17, which is set to be carried out in October.

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