Chinese astronauts have arrived at the Tiangong space station to assist with the station’s construction
The news floating around the internet, claims that on Sunday morning, three Chinese astronauts, known as taikonauts, arrived at the Tianhe core module of the unfinished Tiangong space station, where they will stay for six months to assist with its completion. The Shenzhou 14 spacecraft launched from the Gobi Desert’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 10:44 p.m. ET on Saturday and docked with Tianhe at 5:42 a.m. ET.
Chen Dong, Cai Xuzhe, and Liu Yang make up the three-person crew, with Liu Yang making history as the first Chinese woman in space on the country’s Shenzhou 9 mission in 2012. The crew will undertake numerous spacewalks while in orbit and prepare the station for the arrival of two new lab modules, the Wentian and Mengtian, which are scheduled to launch next month and October, respectively.
Furthermore, the two modules will connect to opposite ends of the Tianhe core module to form a T-shaped station that will be smaller than the International Space Station, according to Space.com (ISS).
China plans to finish building Tiangong by the end of this year, with the Xuntian telescope module set to launch in 2023. Since the launch of the Tianhe module in April 2021, Shenzhou 14 is China’s third crewed trip to the space station. The Shenzhou 15 crew will be welcomed onto the station before the end of the year, marking the first time the station will contain six people.