China moved one step closer to becoming a space power Monday as astronauts docked with an orbiting space module. The three astronauts, including China’s first female crew member, are on a 13-day milestone mission for China’s program as the country works toward its ambition of building a full-fledged permanent space station. While the United States and Russia are the world’s most established extraterrestrial superpowers, both have space programs in transitional periods: NASA is working hand in hand with the private sector to build a new series of spacecraft, and Russia has for the most part abandoned manned space missions. China has also expressed interest in sending a manned mission to the moon in the next two decades.
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