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Thu, Jun 06, 2013

China Readies For Manned Space Mission In June

Plans Docking With Tiangong-1 Orbiting Laboratory

Chinese state-run media reports that the country plans to launch a three-man mission to its orbiting Tiangong-1 space laboratory in June, with "final preparations" underway on the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft.

The French news service AFP relays a report from the Chinese Xinhua news agency indicating that the goal of the mission is to further the country's ambitions to construct its own space station. Xinhua reports that during the mission, the Chinese astronauts will teach lessons to school children via a video feed.

China, which first launched a manned spacecraft in 2003, is now aggressively pursuing a manned space program that includes the space station and a manned landing on the Moon, according to an official white paper. They hope to have the station operational by 2020.

Beijing says that the space program is representative of China's global rise in technical expertise, as well as the economic success of the ruling Communist Party.

The Xinhua news agency said that the launch is currently planned for the middle of June.

(Image from Chinese media YouTube video.)

FMI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiangong-1

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