China to Launch Next Human Mission to Space Station

shenzhou1
Shenzhou spacecraft

China is preparing for its first human spaceflight since last June:

China will launch its next manned rocket in the middle of this month, carrying three astronauts to an experimental space module, state media said on Monday, the latest stage of an ambitious plan to build a space station.

The Shenzhou 10 space ship and its rocket had already been moved to the launch area at a remote site in the Gobi desert, the official Xinhua news agency reported….

China is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers, the United States and Russia. The Tiangong 1 is a trial module, not the building block of a space station.

But this summer’s mission will be the latest show of China’s growing prowess in space and comes while budget restraints and shifting priorities have held back U.S. manned space launches.

It will be China’s fifth manned space mission since 2003 when astronaut Yang Liwei became the country’s first person in orbit.

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