China hailed the successful launch of its Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship, and called for peaceful use of the space with the international community, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday.
The spaceship, launched on Thursday morning, completed the orbital status setting after entering the orbit and successfully docked with the space station core module Tianhe. It is the first time for Chinese astronauts to enter their own space station.
According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the three astronauts aboard Shenzhou-12, namely Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, will remain in orbit for three months.
Asked for comments on the launch, Zhao said the mission is a key step to China's manned space program as well as to usher in a new era for China's exploration of space.
Viewing space exploration as a common dream for humanity, Zhao said that China has set up a three-step approach back in 1992 that aims to fulfill the dream with concrete efforts.
The spokesperson reiterated China's commitment to the peaceful use of space and pledged to work with all countries together to push forward international cooperation in relevant fields to facilitate the peaceful exploration and development of space.
The mission also caught the attention of the world and made headlines in major news outlets.
Russian space agency Roscosmos, European Space Agency (ESA), and U.S. space agency NASA all sent congratulatory messages on the mission. The Roscosmos congratulated their Chinese peers and said the two countries would do more joint work.
The ESA, in its tweet, used the word "taikonauts," a combination of taikong, the Chinese word for space, and astronaut. Many netizens saw the word as a sign of respect to Chinese progress in space science.