China rolls out rocket for its longest crew mission yet

Read more on this subject: Space Travel and Exploration
News Story Source: By Andrew Jones
A 203-feet-high (62 meters) Long March 2F rocket was vertically transferred to the pad at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert early on Thursday (Oct. 7).

Atop the rocket is the Shenzhou 13 spacecraft that will carry the three astronauts into orbit. Visible at the top of the payload fairing is an escape launch system that can rapidly carry the spacecraft away from the rocket in case of an emergency early in the flight.

The crew has not yet been announced but is expected to be the backup crew for the recently completed Shenzhou 12 mission. 

If correct, that would see astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu fly to the Tianhe space station module, which launched in April and has so far hosted one, three-month-long crewed mission. This would be Ye's first flight; Wang would become the first female astronaut to visit Tianhe.

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