Chinese astronauts arrive at new space station Jun 18, 2021 0 344 12345 dpa Beijing China’s space ambitions forged ahead on Thursday as three astronauts arrived at the country’s nascent space station.Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou 12 successfully docked with the core Tianhe module of the space station that is under construction.The docking manoeuvre was carried out automatically, Chinese media reported. The flight represents the first manned Chinese space mission in five years.The three Chinese spacefarers are set to spend three months in orbit - a record for Chinese “taikonauts” - and will use the time to help set up the space station.The station is under construction with two more modules set to be connected to it before it is complete in 2022.Shenzhou 12 - carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo - blasted off from the Jiuquan spaceport in the Gobi Desert on Thursday morning.During their stay the astronauts, led by 56-year-old commander Nie, plan to test important functions of the core module and also carry out scientific experiments.The flight programme is planned on a tight schedule, with the next resupply flight set to launch in September. The last cargo flight with materials and fuel was sent in late May.Three more astronauts will follow in October.To complete the space station, two more laboratory modules, each weighing some 20 tons, will also be launched into space. Two more cargo flights and two manned missions are planned in 2022.If the International Space Station (ISS) ceases to operate as is planned in the next few years, China will be the only country still operating a permanent outpost in space. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Afghanistan sees highest daily rise in COVID cases, deaths Jun 18, 2021 0 2093 17 dead across Nepal, Bhutan due to heavy rain Jun 18, 2021 0 348 Taliban ambush leaves over 20 Afghan commandos dead Jun 18, 2021 0 468 Zambia’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, dies at 97 dpa Lusaka Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda has died of pneumonia at the age of 97, his sons Panji and Kambarage Kaunda confirmed to dpa on Thursday. Three days ago, Kaunda was admitted to a military hospital in .. Over 300 vaccinated health staff contract COVID-19 in Indonesia dpa Jakarta More than 300 doctors and other health workers have contracted COVID-19 in one Indonesian district, despite having been fully vaccinated using the jab developed by China’s Sinovac, an official said .. Bosses of pro-democracy newspaper arrested in HK dpa Hong Kong Five executives of the pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily have been arrested for allegedly violating the controversial security law imposed by Beijing. Among them are publishing director ..