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Aerospace & Defense Industries

China rocket launch kicks off first manned space station

Mission comes two weeks ahead of country's planned debut Mars landing

SHANGHAI -- China successfully launched a rocket on Thursday carrying the core capsule for the construction of the country's maiden space station, a mission that shows the country's progress toward greater technological independence.

The Long March-5B Y2 rocket left its launchpad in the southern province of Hainan shortly after 11:22 a.m. local time, according to the China National Space Administration, with the core capsule Tianhe, or Harmony of Heavens.

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