JIUQUAN (Xinhua): The Shenzhou 15 crewed spaceship will be launched at 11:08 pm Tuesday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, announced the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) on Monday (Nov 28).
The spaceship will take three astronauts - Fei Junlong, Deng Qingming, and Zhang Lu - to carry out the Shenzhou 15 spaceflight mission. Fei will be the commander, said Ji Qiming, assistant to the director of the CMSA, at a press conference.
Fei once participated in the Shenzhou-6 spaceflight mission and both Deng and Zhang are newcomers to space, according to Ji.
It is the sixth flight mission of China's manned spaceflight program this year and the last one in the construction phase of China's space station, said Ji.
He added that the trio will stay in orbit for six months.
The launch will be carried out with a Long March 2F carrier rocket, which will be filled with propellant soon, Ji said.
According to him, after entering orbit, the Shenzhou 15 spaceship will make a fast, automated rendezvous and dock with the front port of the space station's core module, Tianhe.
The astronauts will rotate with the Shenzhou-14 trio in orbit and carry out verification of long-term residence in China's space station at its three-module configuration, according to the CMSA.
The Shenzhou-15 mission will wrap up the last stage of the space station construction and kick off the first stage of its application and development, said Ji.
The space station will then be expanded to its largest configuration with three modules and three spaceships, having a total mass of nearly 100 tonnes, Ji said.
During their stay in orbit, the Shenzhou 15 crew will witness the arrival of the Tianzhou-6 cargo craft and Shenzhou-16 manned spaceship. They will also have a work handover with the Shenzhou-16 crew in orbit.