17 people in orbit: Taikonauts help to break the space record

On May 30, China successfully launched the Shenzhou-16 spacecraft with three taikonauts. This made it possible to break the record for the number of people in Earth orbit at the same time.

Launch of Shenzhou-16. Source: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

The Shenzhou-16 was launched by the Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Cosmodrome. The crew included Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao. The last one became the first civilian taikonaut in history. Previously, the Celestial Empire sent only army officers into space.

The purpose of Shenzhou-16 is to rotate the crew of the Tiangong orbital station. The expedition members will spend about 180 days in space. Their main tasks will be to maintain the station and conduct scientific experiments.

Record for the number of people in orbit

The launch of Shenzhou-16 made it possible to update the record for the number of people in orbit at the same time. At the moment there are 17 people there, while the previous achievement was 14 people. They are distributed as follows: six Chinese, five Americans, three Russians, two astronauts from Saudi Arabia and one from the UAE.

ISS. Source: NASA

However, in the near future the number of people in space will decrease to ten people. The Crew Dragon spacecraft with four members of the Ax-2 private expedition is scheduled to return to Earth on May 30. Shortly after that, the Shenzhou-15 will also return to Earth with three Taikonauts.

It is also worth noting that in addition to the record for the number of people in orbit, there is also a record for the number of people who are in space at the same time. The achievement was set in December 2021. Then there were 19 people in space for a few minutes. 10 of them were on board the ISS, 3 on board the Tiangong station and another six inside the New Shepard spacecraft, which was making a suborbital tourist flight.

According to https://spaceflightnow.com

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