The Shenzhou-12 capsule successfully took off atop its Long March 2F rocket. (Getty Images)
BEIJING: China on Thursday launched three astronauts into orbit to begin occupation of the country’s new space station, BBC has reported.
The three astronauts – Liu Boming, Nie Haisheng and Tang Hongbo – will spend three months aboard the Tianhe module some 380km above the Earth.
This will be China’s longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years, BBC said.
On Thursday, their Shenzhou-12 capsule successfully took off atop its Long March 2F rocket.
Lift-off from the Jiuquan satellite launch centre in the Gobi desert was at 09:22 Beijing time (01:22 GMT).
The launch and subsequent mission are another demonstration of China’s growing confidence and capability in the space domain.
In the past six months, the country has returned rock and soil samples to Earth from the surface of the Moon, and landed a six-wheeled robot on Mars – both highly complex and challenging endeavours.
(With inputs from BBC)