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200 words - June 11, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The spacecraft carries two men, 48-year-old Maj. Gen. Nie Haisheng whom it is the second space journey since he was on board of the Shenzhou-6 spacecraft launched in 2005, and 47-year-old Zhang Xiaoguang, and one woman, 33-year-old Wang Yaping.
Shenzhou-10 will travel in space for 15 days and go through two docking tests uncluding the manual docking of orbiting space lab module Tiangong-1, the Chinese government said. Tiangong-1 is China's first space laboratory and is designed to test docking technology with the Shenzhou spacecraft, which is "an important step toward China's goal of orbiting a crewed station in space."
So far, China has successfully sent eight astronauts into space and has become the third nation to independently launch humans into orbit, after the United States and Russia since its first astronaut entered space in 2003. According to a three-phase manned space program, China will construct a 60-ton permanent space station in low earth orbit around 2020, much like NASA's 1970s-era Skylab.
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