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Manned spacecraft Shenzhou-11 due to blast off in October

Reporter: Zheng chunying 丨 CCTV.com

08-14-2016 05:20 BJT

China's Shenzhou-11 spacecraft has arrived at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The spaceship will be used to take two astronauts into orbit and then to China's space laboratory later this year.

This nine-meter long space craft will carry out China's first manned mission to China's space laboratory, Tiangong-2.

Shenzhou 11 is built like earlier Shenzhou spacecrafts -- but this time there are only two seats on board. Fewer crew means the astronauts can spend more time in space.

"We are taking fewer people to extend the duration of the astronauts’ time in space. And we can make good use of the extra room in the craft to carry more cargo," said Zheng Wei, assistant designer of China Aerospace Science & Technology Group.

China plans to launch Shenzhou-11 this September.

The mission's main objectives are to complete a 30-day manned orbit and to dock with the Tiangong-2 in space. It will be China's longest manned mission in space. The mission's long orbit will help China's austronauts prepare for life on China's future space station.

"As this is the last manned mission before we finish the space station, we hope to gain a lot of experience, so that we can see if everyone and everything is able to adapt to the requirements of living in the space station in the future," said Zhang Bonan, chief designer of China Aerospace Science & Technology Group.

The mission will help lay a solid foundation for the construction of a new space station being built by China. The space station will house three-full time astronauts and will include one command center and two experiment modules. China hopes to launch its planned space station in 20-22 and continue operating it for at least 10 years.

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