Tuesday morning, a Chinese spacecraft carrying three astronauts launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre for the Tiangong space station.
A crew that has been on the orbiting station for six months will be replaced by Gui Haichao, Jing Haipeng, and Zhu Yangzhu.
For the first time, a civilian is part of the new team. Prior crew members were all members of the People’s Liberation Army, the nation’s dominant Communist Party’s armed forces.
The three astronauts who have been living on the station for the preceding six months doing research and putting together equipment inside and outside the ship will momentarily coexist with the trio on board the Shenzhou 16 craft.
When the third component was attached in November, it was declared that the Tiangong space station was complete.
Following its exclusion from the International Space Station, China constructed its own space station, largely as a result of American concerns regarding China’s close ties to the PLA in its space programmes.
Shenzhou-16 detached from the rocket and entered its intended orbit around 10 minutes after liftoff. The CMSA declared that the launch was a total success and that the crew members were in good health.