Thursday, April 25, 2024

Shenzhou-18 China Space Station Crew: Pre-launch Send-Off Ceremony

Shenzhou-18 China Space Station Crew: Pre-launch Send-Off Ceremony

From left to right: Astronauts Li Guangsu (mission specialist), Li Cong (mission specialist), Ye Guangfu (commander)

From left to right: Astronauts Li Guangsu, Ye Guangfu (commander) & Li Cong

From left to right: Astronauts Ye Guangfu (commander), Li Cong & Li Guangsu

From left to right: Astronauts Li Guangsu, Ye Guangfu (commander) & Li Cong

A send-off ceremony for three Chinese astronauts of the Shenzhou-18 crewed spaceflight mission to the China Space Station was held on Thursday afternoon, April 25, 2024, at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The Shenzhou-18 crewed spaceship lifted off successfully at at 12:59 UTC (20:59 China Standard Time) at the launch site.

The three Chinese astronauts Ye Guangfu (mission commander), Li Cong and Li Guangsu reported to the commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Xu Xueqiang that they were ready to undertake their mission.

After receiving an order from the commander-in-chief, the astronauts boarded a vehicle and departed for the launch site amid cheers from a crowd of well-wishers.

The three astronauts are set to stay in orbit for around six months, and will take over the command of China's Tiangong space station after completing an in-orbit handover with their colleagues of the Shenzhou-17 mission, who are scheduled to return to the Dongfeng landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on April 30, 2024.

After entering orbit, the Shenzhou-18 spaceship will perform a fast automated rendezvous and docking with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe about six and a half hours into the mission, forming a combination of three modules and three spacecraft.

The crew will witness the arrival of the Tianzhou-8 cargo craft and Shenzhou-19 crewed spaceship during their stay.

Image Credits: China Global Television Network (CGTN)/Wu Lei/Xinhua/People's Daily/AstroNana

Capture Date: April 25, 2024

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