China will launch the Shenzhou 13 crew to Tiangong Space Station early on Saturday. There will be three astronauts on board, including the first female crew member.

Chinese astronauts will spend six months in the unfinished space station. It will be the second of four crewed trips to the station. China is expecting to complete all the trips by 2022.

Lin Xiqiang, the China Manned Space Program spokesperson, said that the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft would be launched at 12:23 pm EDT (12:23 am local time) on Saturday. You can see the launch live here, courtesy of the state-run China Central Television network and starting at around 9:25 am EDT.

China Launches Its First Space Laboratory Module Tiangong-1
(Photo : Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
JIUQUAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 29: A Long March 2F rocket carrying the country's first space laboratory module Tiangong-1 lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on September 29, 2011 in Jiuquan, Gansu province of China.

The three astronauts will be transported to the space station on the Long March 2F Y13 rocket, which is now being fueled. Their probe will arrive at the Tianhe core module around six and a half hours after launch and will be the first to perform a vertical docking maneuver.

First Chinese Woman To Fly To Tiangong Space Station

Lin said in a Reuters report that the mission commander for Shenzhou-13 will be Zhai Zhigang, 55, who was part of China's first class of astronaut training in the late 1990s.

Wang Yaping, 41, and Ye Guangfu, 41, will accompany Zhai. Wang will be the first woman to travel to the Chinese space station. They are six years younger on average than the crew of the Shenzhou 12 spacecraft, which landed on Earth last month after three months in orbit.

On Thursday, Zhai warned reporters that they would undoubtedly face physical and psychological issues and issues with the equipment and facilities.

But Zhai clarified that the battling spirit of the three crew members will determine whether they can successfully complete this flight mission."

Chinese Astronauts To Make Several Spacewalks

In South China Morning Post, Lin also mentioned that the trio would undertake "two to three spacewalks" to install robotic arms used in building operations.

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Zhai, who holds the rank of major-general and is the first Chinese astronaut to perform a spacewalk, will lead the mission.

After prior training with the European Space Agency, the third astronaut Ye will make his first space journey.

According to him, his training convinced him that space exploration should be a shared endeavor for all countries and that he "looked forward to traveling in space alongside international colleagues."

The crew's main responsibilities, according to Lin, will involve building work on other modules, equipment testing, and a variety of tests in aerospace medicine and microgravity physics.

The team will also be the first Chinese astronauts to spend the Lunar New Year in orbit, with celebratory materials already on board.

How China Will Launch The Rocket

Chinese Long March 2F rocket will launch the Shenzhou 13 spacecraft into orbit in less than 10 minutes. SpaceFlightNow said a toxic but stable combination of hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants would power the rocket.

The capsule will produce power by unfolding solar panels before firing engines to catch up with the Tiangong space station, which is more than 390 kilometers (240 miles) above Earth. The rendezvous and docking will occur at the Tianhe core module's nadir, or Earth-facing, port.

It will be the first time the nadir port has been docked. In June, the Shenzhou 12 moored at Tianhe's forward port.

The station's forward and aft ports are presently docked with two Chinese Tianzhou cargo ships.

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