In a significant milestone, China has launched its youngest-ever crew into space, marking a pivotal step in its ambitious quest to place astronauts on the moon by 2030.
The Shenzhou 17 spacecraft embarked on its journey from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located on the fringes of the Gobi Desert in northwestern China. It was carried into space atop a Long March 2-F rocket at 11:14 a.m. (0314 GMT).
According to the China Manned Space Agency, the three-member crew boasts the youngest average age since the inception of the space station construction mission. As previously reported by state broadcaster CCTV, their average age is 38, as highlighted by state media outlet China Daily.
China’s space endeavors are fueled by the aspiration to achieve a manned moon landing by the end of the decade, positioning itself in a competitive rivalry with the United States. This rivalry extends across multiple domains, including technology, military capabilities, and diplomacy, reflecting the ongoing competition for influence between the world’s two largest economies in the realm of outer space exploration.