China has launched three astronauts into orbit to begin occupation of the country’s new space station, the BBC reports.
The three men – Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo – are to spend three months aboard the Tianhe module some 380km above the Earth.
It will be China’s longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years.
On Thursday, their Shenzhou-12 capsule successfully took off atop its Long March 2F rocket.
Lift-off from the Jiuquan satellite launch centre in the Gobi desert was at 09:22 Beijing time (01:22 GMT).
The launch and subsequent mission are another demonstration of China’s growing confidence and capability in the space domain.
In the past six months, the country has returned rock and soil samples to Earth from the surface of the Moon, and landed a six-wheeled robot on Mars – both highly complex and challenging endeavours.