China launches first crewed mission for space station construction

The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Ju Zhenhua)

JIUQUAN, June 17 (Xinhua) – China on Thursday successfully launched the crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, which is expected to send three astronauts to its space station core module Tianhe for a three-month mission.

It is China’s seventh crewed mission to space and the first during the construction of China’s space station. It is also the first in nearly five years after the country’s last manned mission.

The spacecraft, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert at 9:22 am (Beijing Time), according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Ju Zhenhua)
The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Lei)
The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Ju Zhenhua)
The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
The crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Gang) ■