China has just unveiled a crew that will launch its Shenzhou 15 mission on Tuesday (November 29) and spend the next six months in space.
Commander Fei Junlong and his teammates Deng Qingming and Zhang Lu met with the press on Monday (November 28), just a day before the scheduled launch of their spacecraft from Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert. The Chinese manned space flight agency CMSA is run by the country’s military and usually keeps the identities of its crews secret until launch.
The launch of Shenzhou 15 on a Long March 2F rocket is scheduled for Tuesday at 10:08 am EDT (15:08 GMT; 23:08 local time). You can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of CCTV; coverage begins at 6:30 AM EST (1130 GMT).
Related: Latest news about China’s space program
(Image credit: CMSA)
The trio will travel to the newly built Tiangong Space Station. They will join 14 Shenzhou astronauts aboard Tiangong and complete China’s first long-awaited crew transfer to orbit.
Commander Fei Junlong, 57, returns to space after a 17-year wait. Fei was selected among the first Chinese astronauts in 1998 and commanded the five-day Shenzhou-6 mission in 2005.
Deng Qingming, 56, was also chosen to be a member of the first generation of astronauts, but he had to wait a long time to be able to fly into space.
“As an astronaut, my normal form is to stay committed to my original desire for spaceflight and never stop exercising, which is also my attitude,” Dan said. (will open in a new tab) during a press conference on November 28 in Jiuquan.
“As for me, I can spend my whole life preparing silently, but I will never allow myself to be unprepared when the task comes,” Dan said.
Zhang Lu, 46, is also making his first space flight and is part of a second group of Chinese astronauts selected in May 2010.
“I look forward to experiencing the wonderful feeling of weightlessness and building our space house with my own hands,” Zhang said.
The crew members of Shenzhou 15 are all interested in calligraphy as a hobby. (will open in a new tab) Chinese media – will spend six months in space, conducting a series of experiments and maintaining the space station.
Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or on facebook (will open in a new tab).