According to Space.com , three Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, docked at the under-construction Tiangong space station last Sunday after launching from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert earlier. during the day.
The three taikonauts from Shenzhou 14 – Commander Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe – will spend six months aboard Tiangong, overseeing the addition of two laboratory modules (the Wentian module to be launched next month and the Mengtian in October ). When the modules are linked, Tiangong will be a T-shaped station, smaller than the old International Space Station (ISS).
The trio of taikonauts will welcome the crew of Shenzhou 15 aboard the station at the end of the year. This will be the first time that six people will live on board.
Here is a video of the spacecraft docking with the station.
Last month, China released a never-before-seen image of Tiangong, orbiting above the Earth at an altitude of 400 km.
The station’s completion will mark President Xi Jinping’s ambition to be a leader in space, as NASA must retire the aging ISS by 2031. This means China could have the only space station orbiting the Earth, unless the United States and its partners announce plans for a new station.