China launches new crew for space station, with eye to putting astronauts on moon before 2030


China has launched its first civilian astronaut to its space station as part of a new three person crew, the shenzhou 16 spacecraft lifted off from a launch center on the edge of the Gobi desert in northwestern China just after 9 30 a.m. local time. The crew will overlap briefly with three now aboard the tiangong station who will then return to earth after completing their 6 month mission. China built its own space station after it was excluded from the International Space Station with the hope of putting astronauts on the moon before the end of the decade. Their exclusion was largely down to U.S. concerns over the Chinese space programs intimate ties with the People's Liberation Army, the military branch of the ruling Communist Party. I'm Lawrence Brooks

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