Tiangong Space Station:
Three Chinese astronauts docked at the country’s space station, marking a new milestone in Beijing’s drive to become a major space power.
- The trio blasted off in a Long March-2F rocket at 0814 IMT from the Jiuquan launch centre in north-western China’s Gobi desert, said broadcaster CCTV.
- The team is tasked with “completing in-orbit assembly and construction of the space station”, as well as “commissioning of equipment” and conducting scientific experiments.
- The spacecraft docked at the Tiangong station after about “seven hours of flight”.
- Tiangong, which means “heavenly palace”, is expected to become fully operational by the end of the year.
- The completed station will be similar to the Soviet Mir station that orbited Earth from the 1980s until 2001.
- China’s heavily promoted space programme has already seen the nation land a rover on Mars and send probes to the Moon.