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China to launch Shenzhou-17 manned spacecraft on Oct 26

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Beijing: China will launch the Shenzhou-17 manned spacecraft with the three-member crew to the Tiangong space station on Thursday, Deputy Director of the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) Lin Xiqiang has said.

“At 11:14 a.m. local time [03:14 GMT], on October 26, the Shenzhou-17 manned spacecraft will be launched. The crew includes cosmonauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie, and Jiang Xinlin. Tang Hongbo has been named the commander,” Lin told a press conference on Wednesday.

China invites foreign astronauts to participate in its space missions, especially from the countries that are committed to the peaceful use of space, the CMSA deputy director also said.

The launch will take place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China with a a Long March-2F carrier rocket. The crew of the Shenzhou-17 spacecraft will be the sixth one on China’s space station where cosmonauts are expected to work for around six months.

The Tiangong space station is China’s first long-term orbital station. It operates in low Earth orbit between 210 and 280 miles above the surface. Its first module, Tianhe, was launched in 2021.

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