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China unveils Shenzhou-17 crew for space station mission
SOURCE: xinhua     UPDATED: 2023-10-26
Chinese astronauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie, and Jiang Xinlin will carry out the Shenzhou-17 manned spaceflight mission, and Tang Hongbo will be the commander, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

It is the first time that the spaceflight team consists of one veteran from China's second batch of astronauts and two space rookies from the third batch of astronauts.

The Shenzhou-17 crewed spaceship will be launched at 11:14 a.m. Thursday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, said Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA.

After joining the second batch of Chinese astronauts in 2010, Tang Hongbo flied to space for the first time in the three-month Shenzhou-12 mission in June 2021, the first crewed mission for China's space station construction. He received a third-class medal and the honorary title "heroic astronaut" in November 2021.

As the commander of the Shenzhou-17 mission, Tang Hongbo will be the first astronaut to return to China's space station. He also set a new record for the shortest interval between two spaceflight missions by Chinese astronauts.

Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin are new comers to space. They joined China's third batch of astronauts in September 2020.