Up, Up and Away

Look — China’s Shenzhou-12 docks its first crew at Tiangong

A historic first for the country’s space program.

Originally Published: 

VCG/Visual China Group/Getty Images

After the launch of Tiangong space station’s core module in April, China took on its next challenge: send astronauts to live there.

The first crewed mission, Shenzhou-12, successfully docked at Tiangong Wednesday night.

CCTV/CNSA Watcher via YouTube

VCG/Visual China Group/Getty Images

On board are 3 astronauts, who will stay at the station for 3 months. It’s the longest stay in space for any Chinese national.

Here’s the moment the spacecraft docked at the station:

Tiangong, which remains unfinished, won’t see its construction completed until 2022. Like the ISS, it’s being launched in individual modules.


But the historic mission marks the christening of the only other space station in low-Earth orbit and a new chapter for China’s space program.



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