China launches 6-month crewed mission as it cements position as global space power

10/15/2021 7:41:00 PM

China successfully launches a three-person crew for a 6-month mission at its new space station, a major milestone for the burgeoning space program

China, China Launches 6-Month Crewed Mission As İt Cements Position As Global Space Power - Cnn

China successfully launches a three-person crew for a 6-month mission at its new space station, a major milestone for the burgeoning space program

China launched a three-person crew into space in the early hours of Saturday -- a major step for the country's young space program, rapidly becoming one of the world's most advanced.

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China (CNN)China launched a three-person crew into space in the early hours of Saturday -- a major step for the country's young space program, which is rapidly becoming one of the world's most advanced.Chinese staffers adjust the U.Two of the world's biggest trading powers, the EU and China have not met in a formal physical summit setting since before the outbreak of COVID-19, with the last EU-China meeting via video conference on Dec.is shutting down its LinkedIn service in China later this year after censorship rules were tightened by Beijing.

The three astronauts lifted off on the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft just past midnight local time, launched by a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, located in Inner Mongolia.They will dock at China's new space station, Tiangong (which means Heavenly Palace), six and a half hours after launch. and Chinese flags before the opening session of trade negotiations between U. They will live and work at the station for 183 days, or just about six months -- the country's longest mission yet. "On EU-China relations, despite differences, dialogue remains crucial," Michel, who chairs EU summits, said on Twitter.The crew includes Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guanfu, who will spend the time testing the station's technology and conducting spacewalks. and Chinese trade representatives.Zhai, the mission commander, performed China's first spacewalk in 2008 and has been awarded the honorary title of"Space Hero" by the government.S.

Read MoreThis will be Ye's first mission in space; he is currently a second-level astronaut in the military's Astronaut Brigade. Experts agree a direct conflict is unlikely at the moment, but as the future of self-ruled Taiwan increasingly becomes a powder keg, a mishap or miscalculation could lead to confrontation while Chinese and American ambitions are at odds. They will also explore a meeting with all members of the European Council at a later stage," referring to a separate summit with all 27 EU national leaders.Wang, who also received an honorary title after participating in a 2013 mission, will be China's first female astronaut on board the space station -- and the first Chinese woman to conduct a spacewalk.China is about to send the first female astronaut to work on its new space stationSix months is the standard mission duration for many countries -- but it will be an important opportunity for Chinese astronauts to become accustomed to a long-term stay in space and help prepare future astronauts to do the same.S."In the first place, any crewed mission is significant, if only because space travel by humans remains a risky endeavor," said Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. read more "The EU considers that sanctions imposed against European policymakers are unjustified and unacceptable."This will certainly be their longest mission, which is quite impressive when you consider how early it is in their human spaceflight regimen. “The need to stand up to China is a strong enough motivating factor that not taking this fight would also be seen as a betrayal of American national interests..

"This is the second crewed mission during the construction of the space station, which China plans to have fully crewed and operational by December 2022. The first crewed mission, a three-month stay by three other astronauts, was completed last month. Leader Xi Jinping on the weekend again emphasized “reunification of the nation must be realized, and will definitely be realized” — a goal made more realistic with massive improvements to China’s armed forces over the last two decades. "President Michel recalled the EU's concerns over the situation of human rights in China," an EU official said of the call with Xi, also saying recent Chinese military flights near Taiwan were a concern, as well as China's contested claims to islands in the South China Sea.From left, astronauts Ye Guangfu, Zhai Zhigang, and Wang Yaping, meet the press at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on October 14 before their departure to Tiangong space station.Six more missions have been scheduled before the end of next year, including two crewed missions, two laboratory modules and two cargo missions.S."For the Chinese, this is still early in their human spaceflight effort as they've been doing this for less than 20 years .

. U.. and for fewer than 10 missions," Cheng added. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday emphasized that American support for Taiwan is “rock solid,” saying “we have also been very clear that we are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan."In the past, the Chinese put up a crewed flight only once every two to three years. Now, they're sending them up every few months. The two sides came perhaps the closest to blows in 1996, when China, irked by what it saw as increasing American support for Taiwan, decided to flex its muscle with exercises that included firing missiles into the waters some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Taiwan’s coast ahead of Taiwan’s first popular presidential election.

""If the Chinese maintain this pace ..S.. it reflects a major shift in the mission tempo for their human spaceflight efforts. At the time, China had no aircraft carriers and little means to threaten the American ships, and it backed down."Lead-up to liftoffCNN gained rare access to the launch this week, including a series of highly choreographed events and news conferences in the lead-up to Saturday.

The launch site looks as if it's been dropped into the Gobi Desert in the middle of nowhere, hours away from the city, surrounded by barren brown plains of sand and rock. The U. There is only one road cutting through the middle of the desert, then a swath of nothingness around it, only some low mountains in the distance.The road near the site was littered with signs warning that it was a military area where no unauthorized entry was allowed. Defense Department’s recent report to Congress noted that in 2000, it assessed China’s armed forces to be “a sizable but mostly archaic military” but that today it is a rival, having already surpassed the American military in some areas including shipbuilding to the point where it now has the world’s largest navy. The country's crewed space program is overseen by a military body, and many of the launch sites and satellites are run directly by the People's Liberation Army. #video_1634283114464{margin:20px 0;} #video_1634283114464 video,#video_1634283114464 img{margin: 0; position: relative; width: 100%;} .S.

cap_1634283114464{-webkit-font-smoothing:antialiased;padding:0 0 5px 5px; font-size:16px; color:#595959;} .cap_1634283114464:before{content:"";display: block;height: 1px;margin-top: 10px;margin-bottom: 10px;width: 80px;background-color: #C5C5C5;} . “China’s concept of operations regarding Taiwan is that if they can delay the U.cap_1634283114464>span{color:#C5C5C5;} Arriving at the launch center was like entering a miniature city, complete with sprawling roads, dormitories and stadiums. One billboard was plastered with the image of President Xi Jinping, next to the words"Chinese dream, space dream. presence in the fight, or restrict the numbers that they’re able to put into the fight because we’re able to hold their forward assets at some level of risk, they can beat the Taiwanese before the Americans show up in enough force to do something about it,” he said."China's space program was late to the game, only established in the early 1970s, years after American astronaut Neil Armstrong had already landed on the moon.

But the chaos of China's Cultural Revolution stopped the nation's space effort in its tracks -- and progress was postponed until the early 1990s.S.Space administrators picked two classes of astronauts in 1998 and 2010, laying the path for a rapid acceleration in space missions. Aided by the economic reforms of the 1980s, China's space program quietly progressed until the launch of the first crewed mission in 2003. It has significant military forces itself, and the advantage of fighting on its home turf.The government has since invested billions of dollars into the space program -- and the payoff has been evident. China successfully landed an exploratory rover on the moon last December and one on Mars in May. Taiwan’s defense department’s assessment of China’s capabilities, presented to parliament in August and obtained by The Associated Press, says China already has the ability to seal Taiwan’s ports and airports, but currently lacks the transport and logistical support for large-scale joint landing operations — though is improving by the day.

The first module of the Tiangong space station launched in April. Just last week, an international team of scientists released their findings from the moon rocks China brought back to Earth.S. #video_1634283551477{margin:20px 0;} #video_1634283551477 video,#video_1634283551477 img{margin: 0; position: relative; width: 100%;} .cap_1634283551477{-webkit-font-smoothing:antialiased;padding:0 0 5px 5px; font-size:16px; color:#595959;} . “For the first time in at least a generation, we have a strategic competitor who possesses naval capabilities that rival our own, and who seeks to aggressively employ its forces to challenge U.cap_1634283551477:before{content:"";display: block;height: 1px;margin-top: 10px;margin-bottom: 10px;width: 80px;background-color: #C5C5C5;} .

cap_1634283551477>span{color:#C5C5C5;} "What is truly impressive about China's space program is how rapidly it has advanced, on all major fronts, from a pretty low base as recently as the 1990s," said David Burbach, associate professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College. principles, partnerships and prosperity,” the paper said."The European Space Agency, Russia, India, and Israel have suffered Moon or Mars probe failures in recent years; China succeeded with both on the first tries," Burbach told CNN via email. Though the US still has the world's leading space program, he said,"there's no doubt that China is the world's Number 2 space power today. On Monday, China announced it had carried out beach landing and assault drills in the mainland province directly opposite Taiwan."China's ambitions span years into the future, with grand plans for space exploration, research and commercialization. One of the biggest ventures will be building a joint China-Russia research station on the moon's south pole by 2035 -- a facility that will be open to international participation.” “With every step the Chinese are trying to change the status quo and normalize the situation through this salami slicing," said Hoo Tiang Boon, coordinator of the China program at the S.

Politics in spaceEven in space, there's no escaping Earth's politics. Chinese astronauts have long been locked out of the International Space Station due to US political objections and legislative restrictions -- which is why it has been a long-standing goal of China's to build a station of its own. "They know Taiwan cannot do anything about it, and the danger is that possibility of miscalculations or mishaps do exist.As China's space program expanded, some countries like Russia have reached out to collaborate -- but others remain wary. It's not clear, for instance, whether the European Union will cooperate with China in space -- especially as skepticism in Europe about China grows after several recent diplomatic spats and controversies over politics and human rights, Cheng said. In a 2019 defense white paper, Beijing said it advocates “peaceful reunification of the country” — a phrase repeated by Xi over the weekend — but is also unequivocal in its goals.The US, meanwhile, continues to stand separate.

It's not a complete ban on interaction, Cheng said -- for instance, American and Chinese scientists can chat at international conferences -- but the 2011 Wolf Amendment effectively shuts the door on true bilateral cooperation in space by prohibiting NASA from spending any money on interactions with China. “We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.One reason space research cannot be divorced from terrestrial politics, and why the issue is so complicated, is because"the Chinese space program is heavily influenced, and its human and lunar programs are overseen, by the Chinese military," Cheng said."Cooperating with China in space means cooperating with the Chinese military.” “A failure to defend Taiwan would not only be catastrophic for the Taiwanese," she wrote."US-China rivalry is extending from Earth into space. That poses a challenge to American dominanceBut Burbach, the professor, said the division between the countries"goes too far," potentially blocking precious scientific progress.” U.

"As things stand, US and Chinese scientists won't even be able to trade samples of Moon rocks, which the US and Soviets did do during the Cold War," Burbach wrote in an email.Although he said the chill is"understandable" given the deteriorating US-China relationship, Burbach added that"many American allies are willing to engage with China on space exploration, and the US probably does not gain much from taking such a hard line. law requires it to assist Taiwan in maintaining a defensive capability and to treat threats to the island as a matter of “grave concern."China might not need American assistance at this point. Already, China is significantly ahead of Europe, and catching up fast with the US, he said.S. The launchpad for the Shenzhou-13 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, pictured here on October 15, 2021, is surrounded by barren plains.

"The development of China's manned spaceflight is based on our own plan.” They included an exercise involving 17 ships from six navies — the U. We have our strategy and our plan," said Lin Xiqiang, Deputy Director General of the China Manned Space Agency."We didn't think about comparing with others., Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand off the Japanese island of Okinawa earlier this month."And though it has been excluded from the ISS, China's space station might one day be the main one in operation, since NASA could retire the ISS by 2030.If the US is"unable or unwilling to maintain a human presence in space," China could gain an advantage and pull ahead, Cheng said.S.

That leaves a gap for China to fill -- and even if the ISS remains open, the Tiangong space station could become a major rival. China will likely allow foreign astronauts from different countries to stay on the station and conduct experiments -- increasing their"international prestige and diplomacy, just like the US," Burbach said.” Washington also signed a deal last month in concert with Britain to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which China said would “seriously damage regional peace and stability. .

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Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China (CNN)China launched a three-person crew into space in the early hours of Saturday -- a major step for the country's young space program, which is rapidly becoming one of the world's most advanced.Chinese staffers adjust the U.Two of the world's biggest trading powers, the EU and China have not met in a formal physical summit setting since before the outbreak of COVID-19, with the last EU-China meeting via video conference on Dec.is shutting down its LinkedIn service in China later this year after censorship rules were tightened by Beijing.

The three astronauts lifted off on the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft just past midnight local time, launched by a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, located in Inner Mongolia.They will dock at China's new space station, Tiangong (which means Heavenly Palace), six and a half hours after launch. and Chinese flags before the opening session of trade negotiations between U. They will live and work at the station for 183 days, or just about six months -- the country's longest mission yet. "On EU-China relations, despite differences, dialogue remains crucial," Michel, who chairs EU summits, said on Twitter.The crew includes Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guanfu, who will spend the time testing the station's technology and conducting spacewalks. and Chinese trade representatives.Zhai, the mission commander, performed China's first spacewalk in 2008 and has been awarded the honorary title of"Space Hero" by the government.S.

Read MoreThis will be Ye's first mission in space; he is currently a second-level astronaut in the military's Astronaut Brigade. Experts agree a direct conflict is unlikely at the moment, but as the future of self-ruled Taiwan increasingly becomes a powder keg, a mishap or miscalculation could lead to confrontation while Chinese and American ambitions are at odds. They will also explore a meeting with all members of the European Council at a later stage," referring to a separate summit with all 27 EU national leaders.Wang, who also received an honorary title after participating in a 2013 mission, will be China's first female astronaut on board the space station -- and the first Chinese woman to conduct a spacewalk.China is about to send the first female astronaut to work on its new space stationSix months is the standard mission duration for many countries -- but it will be an important opportunity for Chinese astronauts to become accustomed to a long-term stay in space and help prepare future astronauts to do the same.S."In the first place, any crewed mission is significant, if only because space travel by humans remains a risky endeavor," said Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. read more "The EU considers that sanctions imposed against European policymakers are unjustified and unacceptable."This will certainly be their longest mission, which is quite impressive when you consider how early it is in their human spaceflight regimen. “The need to stand up to China is a strong enough motivating factor that not taking this fight would also be seen as a betrayal of American national interests..

"This is the second crewed mission during the construction of the space station, which China plans to have fully crewed and operational by December 2022. The first crewed mission, a three-month stay by three other astronauts, was completed last month. Leader Xi Jinping on the weekend again emphasized “reunification of the nation must be realized, and will definitely be realized” — a goal made more realistic with massive improvements to China’s armed forces over the last two decades. "President Michel recalled the EU's concerns over the situation of human rights in China," an EU official said of the call with Xi, also saying recent Chinese military flights near Taiwan were a concern, as well as China's contested claims to islands in the South China Sea.From left, astronauts Ye Guangfu, Zhai Zhigang, and Wang Yaping, meet the press at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on October 14 before their departure to Tiangong space station.Six more missions have been scheduled before the end of next year, including two crewed missions, two laboratory modules and two cargo missions.S."For the Chinese, this is still early in their human spaceflight effort as they've been doing this for less than 20 years .

. U.. and for fewer than 10 missions," Cheng added. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday emphasized that American support for Taiwan is “rock solid,” saying “we have also been very clear that we are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan."In the past, the Chinese put up a crewed flight only once every two to three years. Now, they're sending them up every few months. The two sides came perhaps the closest to blows in 1996, when China, irked by what it saw as increasing American support for Taiwan, decided to flex its muscle with exercises that included firing missiles into the waters some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Taiwan’s coast ahead of Taiwan’s first popular presidential election.

""If the Chinese maintain this pace ..S.. it reflects a major shift in the mission tempo for their human spaceflight efforts. At the time, China had no aircraft carriers and little means to threaten the American ships, and it backed down."Lead-up to liftoffCNN gained rare access to the launch this week, including a series of highly choreographed events and news conferences in the lead-up to Saturday.

The launch site looks as if it's been dropped into the Gobi Desert in the middle of nowhere, hours away from the city, surrounded by barren brown plains of sand and rock. The U. There is only one road cutting through the middle of the desert, then a swath of nothingness around it, only some low mountains in the distance.The road near the site was littered with signs warning that it was a military area where no unauthorized entry was allowed. Defense Department’s recent report to Congress noted that in 2000, it assessed China’s armed forces to be “a sizable but mostly archaic military” but that today it is a rival, having already surpassed the American military in some areas including shipbuilding to the point where it now has the world’s largest navy. The country's crewed space program is overseen by a military body, and many of the launch sites and satellites are run directly by the People's Liberation Army. #video_1634283114464{margin:20px 0;} #video_1634283114464 video,#video_1634283114464 img{margin: 0; position: relative; width: 100%;} .S.

cap_1634283114464{-webkit-font-smoothing:antialiased;padding:0 0 5px 5px; font-size:16px; color:#595959;} .cap_1634283114464:before{content:"";display: block;height: 1px;margin-top: 10px;margin-bottom: 10px;width: 80px;background-color: #C5C5C5;} . “China’s concept of operations regarding Taiwan is that if they can delay the U.cap_1634283114464>span{color:#C5C5C5;} Arriving at the launch center was like entering a miniature city, complete with sprawling roads, dormitories and stadiums. One billboard was plastered with the image of President Xi Jinping, next to the words"Chinese dream, space dream. presence in the fight, or restrict the numbers that they’re able to put into the fight because we’re able to hold their forward assets at some level of risk, they can beat the Taiwanese before the Americans show up in enough force to do something about it,” he said."China's space program was late to the game, only established in the early 1970s, years after American astronaut Neil Armstrong had already landed on the moon.

But the chaos of China's Cultural Revolution stopped the nation's space effort in its tracks -- and progress was postponed until the early 1990s.S.Space administrators picked two classes of astronauts in 1998 and 2010, laying the path for a rapid acceleration in space missions. Aided by the economic reforms of the 1980s, China's space program quietly progressed until the launch of the first crewed mission in 2003. It has significant military forces itself, and the advantage of fighting on its home turf.The government has since invested billions of dollars into the space program -- and the payoff has been evident. China successfully landed an exploratory rover on the moon last December and one on Mars in May. Taiwan’s defense department’s assessment of China’s capabilities, presented to parliament in August and obtained by The Associated Press, says China already has the ability to seal Taiwan’s ports and airports, but currently lacks the transport and logistical support for large-scale joint landing operations — though is improving by the day.

The first module of the Tiangong space station launched in April. Just last week, an international team of scientists released their findings from the moon rocks China brought back to Earth.S. #video_1634283551477{margin:20px 0;} #video_1634283551477 video,#video_1634283551477 img{margin: 0; position: relative; width: 100%;} .cap_1634283551477{-webkit-font-smoothing:antialiased;padding:0 0 5px 5px; font-size:16px; color:#595959;} . “For the first time in at least a generation, we have a strategic competitor who possesses naval capabilities that rival our own, and who seeks to aggressively employ its forces to challenge U.cap_1634283551477:before{content:"";display: block;height: 1px;margin-top: 10px;margin-bottom: 10px;width: 80px;background-color: #C5C5C5;} .

cap_1634283551477>span{color:#C5C5C5;} "What is truly impressive about China's space program is how rapidly it has advanced, on all major fronts, from a pretty low base as recently as the 1990s," said David Burbach, associate professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College. principles, partnerships and prosperity,” the paper said."The European Space Agency, Russia, India, and Israel have suffered Moon or Mars probe failures in recent years; China succeeded with both on the first tries," Burbach told CNN via email. Though the US still has the world's leading space program, he said,"there's no doubt that China is the world's Number 2 space power today. On Monday, China announced it had carried out beach landing and assault drills in the mainland province directly opposite Taiwan."China's ambitions span years into the future, with grand plans for space exploration, research and commercialization. One of the biggest ventures will be building a joint China-Russia research station on the moon's south pole by 2035 -- a facility that will be open to international participation.” “With every step the Chinese are trying to change the status quo and normalize the situation through this salami slicing," said Hoo Tiang Boon, coordinator of the China program at the S.

Politics in spaceEven in space, there's no escaping Earth's politics. Chinese astronauts have long been locked out of the International Space Station due to US political objections and legislative restrictions -- which is why it has been a long-standing goal of China's to build a station of its own. "They know Taiwan cannot do anything about it, and the danger is that possibility of miscalculations or mishaps do exist.As China's space program expanded, some countries like Russia have reached out to collaborate -- but others remain wary. It's not clear, for instance, whether the European Union will cooperate with China in space -- especially as skepticism in Europe about China grows after several recent diplomatic spats and controversies over politics and human rights, Cheng said. In a 2019 defense white paper, Beijing said it advocates “peaceful reunification of the country” — a phrase repeated by Xi over the weekend — but is also unequivocal in its goals.The US, meanwhile, continues to stand separate.

It's not a complete ban on interaction, Cheng said -- for instance, American and Chinese scientists can chat at international conferences -- but the 2011 Wolf Amendment effectively shuts the door on true bilateral cooperation in space by prohibiting NASA from spending any money on interactions with China. “We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.One reason space research cannot be divorced from terrestrial politics, and why the issue is so complicated, is because"the Chinese space program is heavily influenced, and its human and lunar programs are overseen, by the Chinese military," Cheng said."Cooperating with China in space means cooperating with the Chinese military.” “A failure to defend Taiwan would not only be catastrophic for the Taiwanese," she wrote."US-China rivalry is extending from Earth into space. That poses a challenge to American dominanceBut Burbach, the professor, said the division between the countries"goes too far," potentially blocking precious scientific progress.” U.

"As things stand, US and Chinese scientists won't even be able to trade samples of Moon rocks, which the US and Soviets did do during the Cold War," Burbach wrote in an email.Although he said the chill is"understandable" given the deteriorating US-China relationship, Burbach added that"many American allies are willing to engage with China on space exploration, and the US probably does not gain much from taking such a hard line. law requires it to assist Taiwan in maintaining a defensive capability and to treat threats to the island as a matter of “grave concern."China might not need American assistance at this point. Already, China is significantly ahead of Europe, and catching up fast with the US, he said.S. The launchpad for the Shenzhou-13 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, pictured here on October 15, 2021, is surrounded by barren plains.

"The development of China's manned spaceflight is based on our own plan.” They included an exercise involving 17 ships from six navies — the U. We have our strategy and our plan," said Lin Xiqiang, Deputy Director General of the China Manned Space Agency."We didn't think about comparing with others., Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand off the Japanese island of Okinawa earlier this month."And though it has been excluded from the ISS, China's space station might one day be the main one in operation, since NASA could retire the ISS by 2030.If the US is"unable or unwilling to maintain a human presence in space," China could gain an advantage and pull ahead, Cheng said.S.

That leaves a gap for China to fill -- and even if the ISS remains open, the Tiangong space station could become a major rival. China will likely allow foreign astronauts from different countries to stay on the station and conduct experiments -- increasing their"international prestige and diplomacy, just like the US," Burbach said.” Washington also signed a deal last month in concert with Britain to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which China said would “seriously damage regional peace and stability. .