China Launches Shenzhou-15 Spacecraft to New Tiangong Space Station

China has launched its Shenzhou-15 spacecraft from the Gobi Desert, carrying astronauts to its newly-built Tiangong space station. Three astronauts will live on the station for six months, before being replaced by another crew.

The spacecraft Shenzhou-15 or “Divine Vessel” lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert in north-west China on Tuesday.

The mission is the last of 11 required to assemble the station that is expected to operate for around a decade and run experiments in near-zero gravity. The new crew will focus on installing equipment and facilities around the space station. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

By Evey Lovelace

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