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China launches new generation spaceship with Long March 5B rocket maiden flight

China launches new generation spaceship with Long March 5B rocket maiden flight
China has launched a test model of a next-generation Chinese crew capsule which lifted off Tuesday on top of a heavy-lift Long March 5B rocket, marking a milestone in the future of Chinese space exploration ambitions.

The rocket was launched from Hainan Island and did not have any astronauts on board, according to Chinese state media. 

If the test launch is successful, future launches will be able to take off and land with three crew members on board and up to 500kg of cargo. The Manned Space Engineering Office told China's state broadcaster that the launch was a “complete success.”

“It is a prelude to the third step of China’s manned space programme,” the space agency said. 

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One of China's main space exploration ambitions has been to build its own space station as an alternative to the International Space Station, following the country's exclusion from the existing space station by the US over security concerns. The Long March 5B rocket marks a significant milestone in the direction of achieving this goal.

Moreover, China has ambitions to explore Mars. It was the third country to put a man in space using its own rocket, following the former Soviet Union and the US, and now aims to become a major player in space by 2030. 

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