|Mission type||Chinese Space Station crew transport|
|Mission duration||90 days (planned)|
45 days, 13 hours and 15 minutes (in progress)
|Manufacturer||China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation|
|Members|| Nie Haisheng|
|EVA duration||6h 46m|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||17 June 2021, 01:22:27 UTC|
|Rocket||Long March 2F|
|Launch site||Jiuquan, SLS-1|
|Contractor||China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||September 2021 (planned)|
|Landing site||Inner Mongolia, China|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit|
|Regime||Low Earth orbit|
|Docking with the China Space Station|
|Docking port||Tianhe forward|
|Docking date||17 June 2021, 07:54|
|Time docked||45 days, 6 hours and 43 minutes (in progress)|
Shenzhou 12 mission patch
(L-R) Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming
Shenzhou 12 (Chinese: 神舟十二号; pinyin: Shénzhōu shí'èr hào, see § Etymology) is a Chinese spaceflight that launched on 17 June 2021. The flight marks the seventh crewed Chinese spaceflight and the seventh crewed flight of the Shenzhou program. The spacecraft carried three members of the People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) on the first flight to the Tianhe core module, the first module of the Chinese space station Tiangong.
Shenzhou 12 was originally planned as the second visiting mission for the experimental Tiangong-2 space station, following Shenzhou 11. In 2016, plans for a second mission to Tiangong-2 were cancelled, and Shenzhou 12 was designated as the first crewed mission to the Tiangong space station which currently consists of one module, the Tianhe module, launched on 29 April 2021. The flight marks the first of four crewed missions scheduled to dock with the Tiangong station by the end of construction in 2022.
The spacecraft was launched on a Long March-2F rocket in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's Gobi Desert on 17 June 2021. After about six-and-a-half hours flight it arrived at Chinese space station Tiangong. The mission docked with the Tianhe core module at 07:54 UTC, 17 June 2021, following the launch and successful docking of Tianzhou 2, the second flight of China's Tianzhou cargo resupply craft. Tianzhou 2 was able to remain docked, because the Tianhe core module has four docking ports, unlike China's two previous space stations which only had one.
The crew entered the Tianhe core module later at 10:48 UTC becoming the first visitors to the Tiangong space station. They will carry out tasks such as the mechanical arm operation and extravehicular activities, and verify a series of key technologies such as long-term residence in space, recycling of resources and life support of astronauts.
On 4 July 2021, the first of two planned spacewalks was carried out by Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo as they left the module to conduct extravehicular activities testing next-generation space suits, installed equipment to be used on future missions and carried out a number of technical tasks, which took nearly 7 hours according to the CNSA. It marked China's second successful spacewalk since Zhai Zhigang's solo spacewalk nearly 13 years ago during the Shenzhou 7 mission. The duration of the spacewalk was also China's longest to date.
Shenzhou 12 spacecraft is based heavily on Soyuz MS technology. Shenzhou was approved in 1992 as part of the Chinese space program Project 921, and has a design similar to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
In the front of the spacecraft, there is the orbital module which contains an androgynous docking ring based on APAS technology, which is used to dock to the Tianhe core module. In the middle is the reentry module containing the crew which is a scaled-up version of the Soyuz descent module. The rear of the spacecraft is the service module which is equipped with engines, fuel tanks, and solar panels.
The crew was publicly announced in a press conference on 16 June 2021.
PLASSF Major General Nie Haisheng is a veteran of Shenzhou 6 and Shenzhou 10. Major General Liu Boming was a crew member on Shenzhou 7, while Senior Colonel Tang Hongbo makes his first flight to space. If Shenzhou 12 completes the planned 90-day mission, Nie will have spent about 114 days in space, a new record for a Chinese astronaut.
|Commander|| Nie Haisheng, PLAAC|
|Operator 1|| Liu Boming, PLAAC|
|Operator 2|| Tang Hongbo, PLAAC|
- Back-up crew
|Commander||Zhai Zhigang, PLAAC|
|Operator 1||Wang Yaping, PLAAC|
|Operator 2||Ye Guangfu, PLAAC|
The crew of Shenzhou 12 is the first to reside aboard the Tiangong space station. Russia will later fly its spacecraft and Russian crew to the Chinese station, and the European Space Agency will also send its astronauts to the Chinese station. Similar cooperation could extend to hosting astronauts from some developing countries.
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