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China's Shenzhou-12 Docks with Country’s Space Station

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INTERNATIONAL: China’s latest manned spaceship, Shenzhou-12, has successfully docked with a part of the country’s space station, which is under construction. Thursday’s manned launch was China’s first in five years and heralds the start of its longest manned mission in space.

The China Manned Space Agency, CMSA, says the three-man crew will spend three months aboard the space station’s Tianhe module. Docking was complete 6.5 hours after launch, Tianhe’s first rendezvous with an incoming spacecraft since it entered orbit on 29 April.

The spacecraft blasted off atop a “Long March-2F” carrier rocket, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gobi Desert. The three astronauts, or “taikonauts” as they are known in China, are Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo. They will spend the next three months testing the module’s life-support systems.

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