Watch live: China launches rocket carrying three astronauts to Tiangong space station

Holly Patrick
Thursday 25 April 2024 13:39 BST

Watch live as China launches the Shenzhou-18 mission at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, carrying three astronauts to the Chinese Space Station on Thursday, 25 April.

Today's launch marks more than two decades of Chinese human spaceflight.

The three-member crew will relieve the current team who have been manning Tiangong space station since October 2023.

Thursday's launch is part of China's program that aims to put people on the moon by 2030.

China built Tiangong space station after being excluded from the International Space Station largely due to US concerns over the People’s Liberation Army’s - the Chinese Communist Party’s military arm’s - involvement in the program.

Thursday's crew will be commander Ye Guangfu, 43, who was part of the Shenzhou-13 mission in 2021; and astronauts Li Cong, 34, and Li Guangsu, 36, who are heading into space for the first time.

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