Long March-5B carrier rocket arrives at Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site.
Credit: CGTN/Inside Outer Space screengrab


Last weekend was a busy time at two of China’s launch sites as the country gears up for two key missions to fully build out its first space station.

A Long March-5B carrier rocket arrived at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the southern island of Hainan. In July, the rocket will orbit the first space laboratory of China’s space station – the Wentian module (Quest for the Heavens).

Meanwhile, at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, a Long March-2F carrier rocket with the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft was rolled out to the launch tower, ready for its takeoff, reportedly June 5.

Shenzhou-14 mission set for early June liftoff.
Credit: China Media Group(CMG)/China Central Television (CCTV)/China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Relay baton

The Shenzhou-14’s three-person crew is slated to stay in China’s space station for six months and then pass the relay baton to a Shenzhou-15 crew at year’s end, reports the China Global Television Network (CGTN).

Credit: China National Space Administration (CNSA)/China Media Group(CMG)/China Central Television (CCTV)/Inside Outer Space screengrab

A Long March-5B will also be tasked with delivering the second space lab named Mengtian (Dreaming of the Heavens) to dock with the space station in October. By then, the space station will form a T-shaped structure and be ready for the following missions, CGTN adds.







Go to this video showing a Long March-5B arriving at the south China launch site at:


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