Three Chinese astronauts have blasted off from Earth for a rendezvous with their country’s brand new space station. The trio were launched into space early Thursday morning from a base in Northwest China in a spacecraft that docked with the still-under-construction Tianhe (Heavenly Harmony) space station six hours later. The Washington Post, which described the mission as “a significant stride” in a U.S.-China space race, reported that the mission had been declared a “complete success.” The astronauts will spend three months aboard Tianhe, testing the life-support system and conducting experiments. Then-Vice President Mike Pence warned in 2019 that China appeared determined to become the “preeminent spacefaring nation” as the U.S. brought forward plans to return to the Moon.
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