China’s took the next step in the development of its first space station on Thursday, when a rocket carrying three astronauts was successfully launched into orbit, reported Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, the China Manned Space Agency confirmed that the Shenzhou-12 rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert at 9:22am.
The rocket is destined for the Tianhe space station module that forms the first part of the Tiangong space station, which is due to be completed next year. Once they arrive, the trio are scheduled to spend three months in the module to help with the development of the project’s technology and systems, according to state media. It’s the first crewed China mission since 2016.