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Three astronauts enter China’s space station module after successful launch

Beijing: China’s strategically significant space station project entered the final phase on Sunday as three astronauts entered its orbiting module after they were successfully launched to complete its construction this year to further the Communist giant’s dream to emerge as a major space power.

Hours after they were launched into the designated orbit by the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft, which later docked with orbiting module of the space station called Tianhe and cargo crafts attached to it, the three astronauts, Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe, successfully entered for a six-month stay, during which they will be completing its remaining construction, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said.

Earlier in the day, the spacecraft lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. Minutes later, the official at ground control declared the mission a great success, saying the spacecraft has reached its designated orbit.

The trio will cooperate with the ground team to complete the assembly and construction of the Tiangong space station, developing it from a single-module structure into a national space laboratory with three modules — the core module, Tianhe, and two lab modules — Wentian and Mengtian.
The launch was telecast live.

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