Beijing- China The space agency was preparing to launch a new manned mission into orbit that will complete work on its permanent space station, the space agency said Saturday.
The three Shenzhou 14 crew members will spend six months at Tiangong Station, during which they will oversee the addition of two laboratories to the accommodation unit, which will be launched in April 2021.
The administration added that its probe is scheduled to depart from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert at around 10:44 am on Sunday.
Commander Qin Dong and astronauts Liu Yang and Kai Xuzhi will assemble the three-module structure that will connect the Tianhe module, which is already in orbit, with the Wentian and Mengtian modules, scheduled for arrival in July and October. The cargo ship Tianzhou 3 is still moored at the site.
China’s space program launched its first female pilot into orbit in 2003, making the country the third country to achieve the feat on its own after the former Soviet Union and the United States.
In addition, it has flown rovers to the Moon and placed one on the surface of Mars last year. China has also returned samples from the moon, and officials have talked about a possible manned mission to the satellite.
The program is run by the ruling Communist Party’s military arm, the People’s Liberation Army, which has led the United States to exclude the country from the International Space Station.