Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)_Monitoring, The crew includes a veteran of a 2005 space mission and two first-time astronauts, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
The Shenzhou-15 mission will take off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert at 11:08 p.m. Tuesday night, the agency said. A Long March-2F carrier rocket, China’s standard workhorse for crewed missions, will be used to sling it into space, it said.
The six-month mission, commanded by Fei Junlong and crewed by Deng Qingming and Zhang Lu, will be the last “in the construction phase of China’s space station,” agency official Ji Qiming told reporters Monday.
Fei, 57, is a veteran of the 2005 four-day Shenzhou-6 mission, the second time China sent a human into space. Deng and Zhang are making their first space flights, AP reported.
The station’s third and final module docked with the station earlier this month, one of the last steps in China’s more than decade-long effort to maintain a constant crewed presence in orbit.
The astronauts will overlap briefly onboard the station, named Tiangong, with the previous crew, who arrived in early June for a six-month stay.
After the Shenzhou-15 spaceship makes an automated docking with the Tianhe core modules’ front port, the station will be expanded to its maximum size, with three modules and three spaceships for a total mass of nearly 100 tons, Ji said.
It will also be at maximum capacity for several days. Tiangong has room to accommodate six astronauts at a time and the handover will take about a week. Previous missions to the space station have taken about 13 hours from liftoff to docking.
The permanent Chinese station weighs about 66 tons — a fraction of the International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs around 465 tons.