China Shenzhou-18 manned mission ready for launch after full rehearsal


China’s Shenzhou-18 crewed spacecraft is poised for take-off in the coming days, as the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center conducted a full-system rehearsal on Sunday.

The Shenzhou-18 mission will be the 13th manned mission of China and the 18th overall flight of the Shenzhou program. It is expected to send three taikonauts, or Chinese astronauts, to the China Space Station for a six-month stay as is standard with Shenzhou missions.

The rehearsal was carried out according to the real launch procedure as the tower, rocket, spacecraft and other subsystems underwent functional checks, simulating the entire process from flight preparation and ignition to spacecraft separation.

The Shenzhou-18 taikonauts simulated the whole process of the mission, and after entering the spacecraft’s re-entry capsule, they began a joint inspection and test of the personnel, spacecraft, rocket and ground systems.

They completed all critical operations in the waiting and launch phases during the simulated rocket lift-off.

This rehearsal further verified the reliability and safety of each system.

The Astronaut Center of China says the Shenzhou-18 taikonauts are all in good condition. An engineer confirmed all systems are working normally ahead of the launch and next, the center will fill of fuel and oxidizer.

“We will enter the pre-launch inspection and launch procedures according to the scheduled launch window,” said Gao Minzhong who works at the center.