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China successfully launches cargo spacecraft

Refueling mission is another step toward permanent space presence

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The Tianzhou-1 blasted off from the Wenchang launch site in the southern island province of Hainan.   © Kyodo

BEIJING -- China succeeded in putting a cargo spacecraft into orbit Thursday night to carry fuel and material to its space laboratory.

The launch is another step for China toward its goal of establishing its own space station as it works to become the third major space power alongside the U.S. and Russia. Beijing also appears likely to apply advances in launch technology to national security.

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