China launches Shenzhou-16 mission to Chinese space station
China sent three astronauts to its now fully operational space station as part of crew rotation on Tuesday in the fifth manned mission to the Chinese
space outpost since 2021, state media reported.
The spacecraft, Shenzhou-16, or "Divine Vessel", and its three passengers lifted off atop a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert in northwest China at 9:31 a.m. (0131 GMT).
The astronauts on Shenzhou-16 will replace the three-member crew of the Shenzhou-15, who arrived at the space station late in November.
The station, comprising three modules, was completed at the end of last year after 11 crewed and uncrewed missions since April 2021, beginning with the launch of the first and biggest module - the station's main living quarters.