China Sends 2 Astronauts Into Space
The Chinese space program has sent two astronauts into space on Monday. The two astronauts are expected to dock at China's orbiting space lab. This latest feat is a crucial step in China's plan to build and operate its own space station by 2022.
The two astronauts are onboard the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft. The launch was witnessed by a group composed of foreign and domestic media representatives, along with some key Chinese officials.
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The launch was made from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's western province of Gansu. The launch marks China's third successful mission into space this year.
China has been pouring billions of dollars into its space program in an effort to compete with the United States and Russia, as well as its close Asian rivals of India and Japan. Part of China's space plans is to send an astronaut to the moon by 2025 and land an unmanned vehicle on Mars, according to Bloomberg.
The crew of the Shenzhou-11 craft is expected to stay in space for 33 days, 30 of which will be spent inside the Tiangong-2 space lab. The Deputy Director of China's Manned Space Agency, Wu Gang, said in a statement that the latest mission to space would provide Chinese astronauts with the much-needed experience to further develop the country's space project.
Wu added that the latest launch stands as one of the pinnacles of China's national pride as the entire mission was planned and executed by an all Chinese staff.