China launches first three-man crew to new space station

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JIUQUAN, China (AP) — China has launched the first three-man crew to its new space station in its the ambitious programs first crewed mission in five years.

The astronauts are traveling in the Shenzhou-12 spaceship launched by a Long March-2F Y12 rocket that blasted off Thursday morning from the Jiuquan launch center in northwestern China.

After liftoff, the two veteran astronauts and one newcomer will proceed to the station that remains under construction for a three-month stay at the station’s main Tianhe living module for three months while they carry out experiments, test equipment, conduct maintenance and prepare the station for receiving two additional modules next year.

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