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China launches 3 astronauts to Tiangong space station

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In China, three astronauts, including a civilian, were launched to the Tiangong space station on Tuesday onboard Shenzhou-16. The civilian, Beihang University professor Gui Haichao, was put into orbit for the first time in space.

According to officials, Shenzhou-16 is the first mission to Tiangong since it entered the application and development stage.

Tiangong is the crown jewel of China’s space programme, which has also landed robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon.  

In a statement, Director of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Zou Lipeng said the launch was a complete success and the astronauts are in good condition.

The Shenzhou-16 crew launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China at 9:31 a.m. local time aboard a Long March 2F rocket.

In an effort to catch up with the United States and Russia, China has committed billions of dollars in its military-run space programme.

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