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Politics

China says astronauts reach maiden space station for first time

Beijing makes leap toward tech self-reliance but says it is open to cooperation

From left, Chinese astronauts Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming salute on June 17, before their mission to build China's space station.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- China launched a spacecraft on Thursday carrying three astronauts on a mission to construct its maiden space station.

The Shenzhou-12 or "divine vessel" spacecraft left the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country's northwestern Gobi Desert at about 9:22 a.m. Beijing time, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

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