For the first time since 2013, a Chinese astronaut, Wang Yaping (right), is to fly into space again
Photo: Liu Fang / Xinhua / IMAGO
With six months in space, three Chinese astronauts want to set a record for the Chinese space program.
The spaceship "Shenzhou 13" is to take off on Saturday night at 12:23 am local time (Friday 6:23 pm CEST) with a rocket of the type "Long March 2F" from the Jiuquan space station on the edge of the Gobi desert, according to a spokesman for the program for China Space reported.
The astronauts will live in the core module "Tianhe" (Heavenly Harmony) of the space station under construction.
Three Chinese spacemen had recently spent three months there, which is the previous record for China.
In addition to the 55-year-old commander Zhai Zhigang and the 41-year-old Ye Guangfu, Wang Yaping, a Chinese astronaut, will fly into space for the first time since 2013.
First spacewalk by a Chinese woman
After 2013, it is the second flight of the now 41-year-old, who in 2013 was the second Chinese woman ever to fly into space and lived in the “Tiangong 1” space laboratory.
The first female Chinese astronaut was Liu Yang in 2012.
According to the space program, Wang Yaping will be the first Chinese woman to complete a space walk on this mission.
The three-person crew wants to test the systems of the core module during their long-term flight, work outside the spaceship and carry out scientific experiments.
Before their stay, six tons of supplies, fuel and equipment had been brought to the core module on a cargo flight at the end of September.
Two more modules are to be connected to »Tianhe« in the next year in order to complete the Chinese space station, which will then be called »Tiangong« (Heavenly Palace).
China wants to become a great power not only on earth but also in space and is investing billions in its space programs.
In mid-May, the country had already sent the Zhurong rover to Mars.
The People's Republic is the first nation to have managed this maneuver on the first flight to our neighboring planet.
China is planning a manned Mars mission as early as 2033.
bam / dpa