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China launches fifth manned space station, set to be its longest ever

Christian Science Monitor
June 11, 2013
 
Three Chinese taikonauts lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province for a 15-day mission that will take them to China's experimental lab module Tiangong 1, which orbits some 210 miles above Earth.
 
The mission is the longest yet for the Chinese human spaceflight program and the first truly operational – and final – mission for Tiangong 1. The crew will test new docking maneuvers as they arrive, then perform experiments and hold a live lecture from space for students in China.

The launch, which took place at 5:38 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, went flawlessly, with the crew reaching orbit about nine minutes later. If all goes well, the crew aboard the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft should reach the lab module on Thursday.
 

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