China is a late starter in the specialized field of Space travel, and it has made rapid strides. Three of their astronauts are blasting off from the Gobi Desert to work on their new space station. One of them is a woman, and the three of them will travel in the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft. Their destination will be Tiangong (or Heavenly Palace) space station. They will remain there for 183 days. It will be the longest duration of stay in space by Chinese astronauts. The team has a specific task to complete.

The country intends to complete the station and have it fully crewed by December 2022.

It matches with what a media report mentioned in June last year about China gearing up to have its space station by 2022. It is, no doubt, an ambitious target, but work is in progress. Last month, the last team of three other astronauts ended a three-month stay on Tiangong. During their stay, they worked on the station's core module. They also undertook spacewalks to install equipment. This time the new team has a woman who could become the first Chinese woman to carry out a spacewalk.

Space research welcomes China as an emerging force

In February last year, China surprised the world by sending a mission to the far side of the Moon. NASA had been concentrating on sending manned missions to the Moon, but the attention was always on the side, usually visible and not on the far side.

China zeroed in on the far side, and it boosted their spirits. Their idea was to check out the far side for the presence of useful natural resources. Subsequently, in December last year, China brought moon rocks back to Earth. Earlier missions have also brought them, but this was different and a huge plus point for the country.

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The reasons were these samples were from hitherto unknown locations. Analyzing them could provide more knowledge about the minerals available on the Moon. CNN adds that adequate provisions are made for food, water, oxygen bottles, spacesuits, and other necessities. These will cater to the nearly six-month-long stay of the three astronauts.

The measured steps of China

Wang Yaping (41) is a woman astronaut, and this would be her second space mission. With an aviation background, she joined in 2010 as an aspiring astronaut. Three years later, she got a chance to stay in orbit for 15 days with the Shenzhou-10 mission. During an interview in 2015 with a section of the media, she recounted her experience of viewing the Earth from space. Her words were: "When I looked out of the window for the first time, I realized the true meaning of the power of life... that kind of beauty was just beyond comprehension." In her opinion, a manned space program would be incomplete if there were no female astronauts. She adds in a lighter vein that women weigh less than men.

Hence they are more economical to the mission.

The road ahead for China

Three Chinese astronauts are going to give finishing touches to their space station. The International Space Station was where scientists of America, Russia, Japan, Canada, and other European countries worked as a team to gain knowledge about space and share them with others. Now, China will get a space station of its own. A team of three will try to complete the unfinished space station by the end of next year. The construction of the proposed permanent space station began in April. It had housed the crew of the previous Shenzhou-12 mission for 90 days from June to September. Now, it will be the turn of the Shenzhou-13 crew to stay there for six months.