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Aerospace & Defense

U.S., China in new space race with Artemis lunar rocket launch

Washington and Beijing eye competing moon bases, next stop Mars

The Space Launch System rocket lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 16. NASA is working not only with other space agencies but also the private sector for its new Moon program.   © Reuters

PALO ALTO, U.S./BEIJING/TOKYO -- A half century after putting the first man on the moon, the U.S. has kicked off a new space exploration program as it races not Moscow but Beijing to new frontiers in space.

The first rocket of the Artemis program launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, sending the Orion capsule on a journey around the moon and back. The capsule, which is unmanned for this mission but could seat four, is expected to be closest to the moon on the sixth day before returning to Earth on the 26th day.

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