Chinese missile with three spacers shot towards station

The Chinese missile Shenzhou-13 with three spacers on board has been successfully launched towards Tiangong Space Station, Chinese in front of Heavenly Palace. Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu have taken off Friday at 6.23 pm (00.23 pm local time).

The three taikonauts, as Chinese spacers are called, were seen through a camera in the cockpit. They seemed quiet during launch despite the high G-power. On the outside of the Shenzhou-13 there was also a camera on which the launch was clearly visible. Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng attended the launch.

The three spacers will return to Earth in April next year. They will work on the Chinese space station until then. The Heavenly Palace now consists of a 16 metre long tube and 4 metres wide. Two more parts will be sent to the space station next year. They are called Wentian (quest for heaven) and Mengtian (dreams of heaven).

In June, the first three Chinese spacers went to the station. They carried out some space walks, including to install a robotic arm on the outside of the complex. The crew returned to Earth in September.


China is particularly ambitious. The country brought someone to space for the first time in 2003. It was the third country to succeed after the Soviet Union/Russia and the United States. The country successfully put an unmanned cart on Mars earlier this year. In 2019, China landed first on the back of the moon. Other countries prefer to do such projects with others, but China prefers to work on its own.