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China to launch Shenzhou-18 and 19 crewed missions in 2024


 , Updated 12:11, 01-Mar-2024
Illustration demonstrating Tianzhou-7 cargo spacecraft (R) operation. /CMSA
Illustration demonstrating Tianzhou-7 cargo spacecraft (R) operation. /CMSA

Illustration demonstrating Tianzhou-7 cargo spacecraft (R) operation. /CMSA

China will launch its Shenzhou-18 and 19 crewed missions in 2024, and the training of the selected astronaut crew is underway, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said in a statement on Thursday.

A resupply mission by Tianzhou-8 cargo spacecraft has also been set for this year.

The in-orbit Shenzhou-17 crew, who are in good condition, is scheduled to return to Earth in April, said the CMSA.

More than 150 space science research and application projects have been arranged in the space station, involving space life science and human body research, microgravity physics, and new technologies, with multiple world-leading achievements realized.

The country has also progressed its lunar exploration missions, targeting its first crewed lunar landing by 2030.

The CMSA said major lunar mission products, including the Long March-10 carrier rocket, the Mengzhou (Dream Vessel) manned spacecraft, Lanyue (Embracing the Moon) lunar lander and lunar spacesuits, have entered the preliminary development stage, and the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site will also start the construction of testing and launch facilities supporting the lunar missions.

According to the preliminary plan, two Long March-10 carrier rockets will respectively send the Lanyue lander and Mengzhou spacecraft to Earth-moon transfer orbit for rendezvous and docking, and taikonauts will then enter the lander from the spacecraft. They will land on the moon to carry out scientific investigations and sample collection after the lander descends and lands on the predetermined area of the lunar surface.

International cooperation projects with agencies including the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs will be steadily pursued as well.

"China is willing to share with other countries, especially developing countries, the achievements of its manned space development, jointly promote the global development of space technology, and make positive contributions to the peaceful use of space and the benefit of all mankind," said the CMSA.

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