China’s Shenzhou 11 manned mission to space: All you need to know

President Xi Jinping told Chinese media that the mission would "enable China to take larger and further steps in space exploration, and make new contributions to building up China as a space power."

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published:October 17, 2016 10:49 am
In this photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, the Long March-2F carrier rocket carrying China's Shenzhou 11 spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. China has launched a pair of astronauts into space on a mission to dock with an experimental space station and remain aboard for 30 days. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP) The Long March-2F carrier rocket carrying China’s Shenzhou 11 spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China’s Gansu Province, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP)

China launched a pair of astronauts into space on Monday on a mission to dock with an experimental space station and remain aboard for 30 days in preparation for the start of operations by a full-bore facility six years from now. The Shenzhou 11 mission took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert in northern China at 7:30 a.m. (2330 GMT) aboard a Long March-2F carrier rocket.

President Xi Jinping told Chinese media that the mission would “enable China to take larger and further steps in space exploration, and make new contributions to building up China as a space power.”

What is the mission?

The two astronauts will stay in space for 30 days to test complex’s ability to support human life. They will also conduct medical and scientific experiments. Advancing China’s space program is a priority for Beijing, with President Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power. China has insisted that its space program is for peaceful purposes.

Has China launched astronauts into space before?

It is the sixth time China has launched astronauts into space. The duration of 30 days will be the longest among all of China’s manned missions to space. In a space mission in 2013, three Chinese astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with a space laboratory, the Tiangong 1. The Tiangong 1 experimental space station launched in 2011 went out of service in March after docking with three visiting spacecraft and extending its mission for two years.

Who are the two astronauts?

The astronauts flying the mission are identified as 49-year-old Jing Haipeng and 37-year-old Chen Dong. Jing has been into space twice in the years 2008 and 2012. Jing will also celebrate his 50th birthday in the orbit.

When will the completed station begin operations?

Following the attachment of two experiment modules, the completed station is set to begin full operations in 2022 and will run for at least a decade.

What other advancements China are making towards space exploration?

China’s space program also opened its massive fourth spacecraft launch site at Wenchang on China’s southernmost island province of Hainan in June. It was inaugurated with the launch of the newly developed Long March 7 rocket that was hailed as a breakthrough in the use of safer, more environmentally friendly fuels.

China is currently developing the Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket needed to launch the Tiangong 2’s additional components and other massive payloads. China also plans to land a rover on Mars by 2020, attempting to recreate the success of the U.S. Viking 1 mission that landed a rover on the planet four decades ago. The country’s space program plans a total of 20 missions this year.

(With inputs from AP/Reuters)

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  1. M
    module
    Oct 17, 2016 at 9:53 am
    No need to compete with china. Let us focus on food/shelter and educations first. The we can spend more money on this. ISRO and DRDO already done great jobs and plenty are in pipelines. China a communist and India is a democratic country. Policy/laws/rules/ implementation/executions/nature of works, all are very different. can't be compared.
    Reply
    1. O
      Opinion
      Oct 17, 2016 at 11:34 am
      Every nation involved in space program with exception of 'European space program' has evolved with high degree of ingeniousness. This is amazing more so with developing nations like India and China. Science thankfully is beyond man-made boundaries/clifications. It seeks only facts ,opinions and prejudices don't matter. It has unique unifying property.
      Reply
      1. R
        ruler
        Oct 17, 2016 at 9:34 am
        a r anti btahimin or anti inida?
        Reply
        1. I
          Ind
          Oct 17, 2016 at 6:55 am
          USA is decades ahead of China in Space exploration.
          Reply
          1. P
            PALAN GAMAN
            Oct 17, 2016 at 9:28 am
            Since our infrastructures are very very poor compare to China ,the space exploration is not for us for 20 years periods.Why ? It very simple to understand on the following present situations in India.lt;br/gt;1. Over Potionlt;br/gt;2. Lack of better educational system.lt;br/gt;3. No proper roads all over India but little improvements only so farlt;br/gt;4. Himalaya size of Corruptions from a Peon to Ministerslt;br/gt;5. Many cities in rural areas have no electricitylt;br/gt;6. Our Nuclear energy is very very poor compare to Chinalt;br/gt;7. We may have 100 nuclear bombs in vain but we have no nuclear centers to bring electricity to all over Indialt;br/gt;8. Our economy is not strong enough to allow us to do end huge money on space Exploration.lt;br/gt;9. Our scientists are very clever to recover water on other planets but here in India still our women are waiting to fetch water from drying wells! So where are our scientists?lt;br/gt;10. No hospitals ,No good enough drinking eater for the small school going children how Dan India dream to compete with China?lt;br/gt;Our trains ,busses are dirtylt;br/gt;Village people go out for morning toilet in their paddy fields ( still )lt;br/gt;There are millions to say but. Let us not get into arguments in vain for any such stupid space explorations.lt;br/gt;The most urgent needs are electricity through nuclear energy, good drinking water, connections of small rivers and big rivers and divert to the area where we need waterfor irrigation.lt;br/gt;Our Zmodi isa champion for Yoga and BRICS but he has to work first to wipe out total
            Reply
            1. P
              PALAN GAMAN
              Oct 17, 2016 at 6:42 am
              Small correctionlt;br/gt;India should not compete with China in any space exploration.If China gives 24 billions of dollars to Bangladesh or to any African countries,for God sake we can not get into compeion with China.
              Reply
              1. P
                PALAN GAMAN
                Oct 17, 2016 at 10:42 am
                The Indian Prime Minister must,as he promised to the nation, first wipe out or bring a tough law to punish the people involved into mive corruption.Under the new law ,person who is found guilty ,should not me allowed to take part into any political activities.and their civils rights should be removed for at least 10 years.Can He? To save India. Ex all the politicians in TN are fully involved in a mive corruption and these peoples ets should be confiscated
                Reply
                1. P
                  PALAN GAMAN
                  Oct 17, 2016 at 6:39 am
                  This is their most advanced technolgy and India should send friendly congratulation message as member of BRICS but India should compete with Chinese Space exploration in which our poor economy won't allow us and we can not follow China and United States.Even United States is scared to get into compeion with China
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    P.R.Koduri
                    Oct 17, 2016 at 10:14 am
                    Yesterday while driving back from a distasteful, lavish wedding I saw a young boy not more than 10 years of age, pulling a cart with garbage. What a contrast. What was the fault of the boy - being born in India? Why is he left to take care of himself? Is he not the future of India? No basic elements of a social order. No elementary education, sanitation or health. Yet we have billions to spend on arms and planes and submarines. Will these ure us a bright future?
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      ruchir
                      Oct 17, 2016 at 12:40 pm
                      I have only one question - When you have limited resources which one of your sons do you feed and which one do you let go hungry? Any one suggesting electricity first, water first etc. is insincere and does not understand that development must be in every sector and every area. When Genghis Khan invaded the world, he did it with military power. Even if India became very rich and prosperous, it will be at the mercy of military powers and our enemies who would absolutely love to per our wealth once again as they have done in the past. From Mongols, Mughals, Iranians, Afghans, British, French, Portuguese - all have pered our wealth. Why? Because we were rich but not powerful. You have to understand being powerful means being able to defend ourselves WELL. All of what you mention is OUR FIRST PRIORITY (although it is interesting that you ranked them as 1 to 10) along with DEFENCE, SPACE AND ECONOMY. So make no mistake and don't get swa by lefties. You have to understand China is leftist to the extreme, they are communists. You should ask yourself why are they going in space when their economic and social problems mirror ours.
                      Reply
                      1. V
                        venu
                        Oct 17, 2016 at 8:05 am
                        Launching a manned space craft is easier with the technology we possess, but landing of spacecraft and reentry into earth is a risky job, we have seen Columbia space craft when Kalpana Chawla died during landing onto the earth.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Our achievement would be take time and launch cheapest space vehicle at a fraction of what Chinese are spending, like we have launched Mangalyan. In terms of research we do not loose anything, as Sunita Williams spend several weeks in the space and has all the knowledge. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;We dont need to panic, we will catch up quickly. Space technology and Defence technology gives self-reliance and saves resources, but it is only driven through knowledge and interest of the political leadership, be it PM or SandT minister.
                        Reply
                        1. V
                          venu
                          Oct 17, 2016 at 8:25 am
                          In the conflict with rogue state like stan we should not loose sight and effort of larger goals of the nation, complete autonomy and good budget shall be allocated to ISRO, DRDO, CSIR etc.., what ever progress we have made during last 10-15 years is due to silent and constant efforts in research and planning. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;If India has to become a 1st world nation respected by all, we need to smartly manage the multiple issues with maturity and wisdom, each shall be allocated their role and targets without affected by the other burning issues. Confidence and meticulous planning/execution is a challenge.
                          Reply
                          1. V
                            venu
                            Oct 17, 2016 at 7:53 am
                            It will take 3-4 years for India, but by 2020 we can send our own men into space, it is a 40 years old technology, i think we can do it. USA, Russia and European space agency did it, we can ask NASA to collaborate through our Indian American scientists.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;It will not have any visible benefits immediately but manned missions are always risky and high cost. We have not yet perfected GSLV heavy satellite launch, few days back we have launched it through French vehicle from French Guianalt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;If we plan it we can do it in 3-4 years, but our PM and most our cabinet ministers are less educated and totally unaware of space technology, Manmohan singh had lot of Knowledge in space technology, we should appoint a scientist as our President or Vice president than politicians. Now, govt. is totally dependent upon ISRO initiative , i dont know who is the scientific advisor to PM. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Need to come out of irrationality and myths, real science is complex and specialized. PM should spend some time with the scientists.
                            Reply
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