Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 323


People's Republic of China

Patch Shenzhou-12 Tianhe patch

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Tianzhou-2 patch

Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  17.06.2021
Launch time:  01:22:31.693 UTC
Launch site:  Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  330 - 340 km
Inclination:  42.4°
Docking Tianhe :  17.06.2021, 07:54 UTC
Undocking Tianhe :  16.09.2021, 05:38 UTC
Landing date:  17.09.2021
Landing time:  05:34:09 UTC
Landing site:  41°37'42.7"N 100°04'28.2"E

walkout photo

Crew Shenzhou-12

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alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Nie  Haisheng  Commander 3 92d 04h 11m 37s  1454 
2  Liu  Boming  Operator 2 92d 04h 11m 37s  1454 
3  Tang  Hongbo  Operator 1 92d 04h 11m 37s  1454 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Nie
2  Liu
3  Tang
1  Nie
2  Liu
3  Tang

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Zhai  Zhigang  Commander
2  Wang  Yaping  Operator
3  Ye  Guangfu  Operator


Launch vehicle:  Long March 2F (Chang Zheng CZ-2F/G Y12)
Spacecraft:  Shenzhou-12


Launch from Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center. Only seven hours later Shenzhou-12 docked with the Tianhe core module. They became the first resident crew of the new space station. The landing was near Dongfeng, northeast of Jiuquan.

The Tiangong space station (English: Heavenly Palace) can accommodate three astronauts under normal circumstances and up to six during a crew change. The station will be T-shaped with the core module in the middle and a laboratory capsule on each side. Each of the modules will weigh more than 20 tons, with a total mass of the station of about 66 tons. The space station, which is expected to be completed in 2022, is expected to operate for more than 10 years in low-earth orbit at an altitude of 340 km to 450 km.
The station's core module, named Tianhe (English: Heavenly Harmony), has a total length of 16.6 meters, a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters and a launch mass of 22.5 tons and is currently the largest spacecraft developed by China. The Tianhe core module will be the management and control center and the main living room of the crew, and will support some science and technology experiments. The living space in the core module is approx. 50 cubic meters. In combination with the two laboratory capsules, the total living space could be up to 110 cubic meters, according to the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). The core module has two berth connections connected to the two laboratory capsules and three docking connections for the spaceship, cargo and other crew vehicles. It also has an exit for astronauts to conduct extravehicular activities.
The first laboratory capsule, named Wentian (English: Sky Inquiry), is mainly used for scientific and technological experiments, as well as for work and living spaces and emergency shelters. This capsule is equipped with a special airlock chamber to support extravehicular activities and a small mechanical arm for the automatic installation and operation of instruments on the shell of the space station.
The second laboratory capsule, named Mengtian (English: Heavenly Dream), has similar functions to the first laboratory capsule. It is equipped with a special airlock chamber that supports the entry and exit of cargo and instruments with the help of astronauts and mechanical arms.
The Long March-7 rocket and the Tianzhou (English: Sky Ship) cargo spaceship are used to transport materials, propellants and instruments for the station.
The Long March-5B rocket launched the core module and laboratory capsules, as well as a capsule with a 2-meter caliber optical telescope, which will fly in the same orbit as the space station on April 29, 2021 at 03:23:15.613 UTC. The telescope capsule, named Xuntian (English: Sky Survey), is designed to provide observational data for astronomical and physical studies to enable scientists to better understand the universe. It can observe over 40 percent of the sky during its expected 10 years of operation. The capsule can dock with the space station for maintenance and refueling.

The unmanned freighter Tianzhou-2 was launched on May 29, 2021 at 12:55:00 UTC and docked to Tianhe on May 29, 2021 at 20:53:50 UTC

Photo / Graphic

possible construction of the new Chinese space station crew in training
crew in training crew in training
crew in training Shenzhou-12 rollout
Shenzhou-12 rollout Shenzhou-12 launch
Shenzhou-12 launch Shenzhou-12 launch
Shenzhou-12 launch
Tianhe Shenzhou-12 recovery
Shenzhou-12 recovery  


Last update on December 27, 2023.