China launched a second crew into space on Friday as work continues on a space station that will act as a base for Chinese astronauts during future launches.
A Long March-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu at 12:23 a.m. Beijing time.
The three astronauts, including a woman, will live and work on the first and largest of the space station’s three modules, Tianhe, which was launched in April. The trio will be in space for six months, which is the longest-ever duration in orbit for Chinese astronauts.
The astronauts will carry out tests of the key technologies and robotics on Tianhe needed to assemble the space station, verify onboard life support systems and conduct a number of scientific experiments.
The space station is slated for completion by the end of 2022.
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