Send-off ceremony held for Shenzhou-17 astronauts heading to China Space Station

A send-off ceremony for the three astronauts of the Shenzhou-17 crewed space mission was held on Thursday morning at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

At the command of Xu Xueqiang, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, astronauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin were officially set off at 8:26 a.m. Beijing Time.

The Shenzhou-17 spaceship is scheduled to be launched at 11:14 a.m. Thursday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. 

The Shenzhou-16 crew has been working and living in orbit for about five months and is preparing for the upcoming Shenzhou-17 trio.

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