Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 18 June 2021

Three Chinese astronauts floated into the country’s new Tiangong space station on 17th June 2021, becoming the first people to be resident of China’s outpost in orbit after a successful launch from a military base in the Gobi Desert to start a three-month mission. Commander Nie Haisheng led the three-man crew into the space station’s Tianhe core module at 4:18 pm Indian Standard Time. Astronauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo followed Nie into Tianhe module through hatches leading from their Shenzhou 12 spaceship as the complex soared some 235 miles (380 kilometers) above Earth.

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