Chinese astronauts – two men and a woman – successfully docked aboard Tiangong space station ,China’s first permanent space station, and began Saturday their six-month mission on. They are the second crew to move into China’s Tiangong space station, which was launched last April. The first crew stayed three months. The crew includes Wang Yaping, 41, who is the first Chinese woman to board the Tiangong space station and is expected to become China’s first female spacewalker. The crew will do three spacewalks to install equipment in preparation for expanding the station. When completed with the addition of two more sections , named Mengtian and Wentian , the station will weigh about 66 tons, much smaller than the International Space Station which weighs around 450 tons. China was excluded from the International Space Station largely due to U.S. objections over the Chinese program’s secretive nature and close military ties. China is cooperating with space experts from other countries including France, Sweden, Russia and Italy.
China has and developed mutiple space programs including its Tianwen-1 space probe on Mars and aspiration to land people on the moon and possibly build a scientific base there. Chinese leaders hope that research conducted on the Tiangong space station will improve researchers’ ability to conduct science experiments in space. Tiangong is designed to be used for 10 years which could be extended to 15 years.