China launched three astronauts into space on Thursday – the first crewed spaceflight by the country in almost five years.
The three astronauts – Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo – took off on the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, which was launched from a Long March 2F rocket. Among the crew on board, this is Tang’s first flight into space.
Check out a video of the launch below (VPN off):
The crew took off from the Liuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China around 9.22am, and the director of the launch center declared the mission a success at around 9.43am.
Image via CNSA
The launch is part of the Shenzhou mission, where the crew will arrive at Tianhe, the core module of its new Tiangong space station. During their three-month tenure, the astronauts will perform various tests and maintenance activities aboard Tianhe.
According to Space.com, China became the third country to launch a human into space in 2003.
READ MORE: China’s First Man in Space
[Cover image via CNSA]