First astronauts blast off for China’s new space station

Hugely prestigious event for China as Beijing prepares to mark 100th anniversary of ruling Communist party

The first astronauts for China’s new space station have blasted off on the country’s longest crewed mission to date, a landmark step in establishing Beijing as a major space power.

The trio were aboard a Long March-2F rocket for the Tiangong station, where they will spend three months. It is China’s first crewed mission in nearly five years.

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