China to send six taikonauts in two batches to its space station in 2022: chief designer of manned space program
Published: Mar 04, 2022 02:46 PM
China successfully launches Shenzhou-13 manned spacecraft Photo:Deng Xiaoci/GT

China successfully launches Shenzhou-13 manned spacecraft Photo: Deng Xiaoci/GT

China will send another six taikonauts in two batches to China's space station this year and they will meet in orbit and spend about one week together during a rotation, Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program, said during an interview of "Members' Passage" on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Friday.

After nearly 140 days in orbit, the Shenzhou-13 taikonauts are in excellent condition and will return to Earth in April, Zhou said, noting that it is expected to draw a conclusion to the technology verification period of China's space station building.

In addition, the Shenzhou-12 taikonauts, who returned to Earth in September 2021, will soon return to work and training, according to Zhou.

"We will launch two experimental modules, two manned spacecraft, two cargo spacecraft and send another six taikonauts to the Chinese space station this year," Zhou said, noting that China will enter the construction phase of the space station project in May.

Shenzhou-14 and Shenzhou-15 crewmembers will meet in orbit and spend about one week in space together during their rotation, Zhou said.

The Chinese space station, when finished, will consist of three modules, two manned spacecraft and one cargo spacecraft, with a total weight of nearly 100 tons. It will be loaded with a large number of advanced experimental equipment, including space life and biological science equipment, materials science equipment, combustion science and microgravity fluid physics equipment, and basic physics equipment, according to Zhou.

The three taikonauts onboard the Shenzhou-13 spaceship entered the country's space station core module, Tianhe, in October 2021.