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See-off ceremony held for Shenzhou-XIII crew

Crew members of the Shenzhou XIII spacecraft, Major General Zhai Zhigang (right), Senior Colonel Wang Yaping (center) and Senior Colonel Ye Guangfu set out to the launch tower after a departure ceremony on Friday evening in front of their residential building at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi Desert. (WANG JIANGBO / FOR CHINA DAILY)

JIUQUAN – A see-off ceremony for three Chinese astronauts departing on the Shenzhou-XIII crewed space mission was held on Friday evening at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

At the command of Li Shangfu, commander-in-chief of China‘s manned space program, astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu set off at 9:42 pm to begin the country’s longest-ever crewed space mission for the construction of China’s space station.

The Shenzhou-XIII spaceship is expected to be launched at 12:23 am Saturday (Beijing Time), and the crew will stay in orbit for six months.

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