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One small step... China launches first cargo spacecraft

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By Euronews
One small step... China launches first cargo spacecraft

<p>China has taken another step forward in its space programme with the launch of its first cargo spacecraft.</p> <p>Its hoped it will provide an “important technological basis” for the construction of a permanently-manned space station by 2022, state media report.</p> <p>President Xi Jinping says the advancement of China’s space programme will strengthen national security and he has placed it high on his government’s agenda.</p> <br /> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">China launches 1st cargo spacecraft <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tianzhou1?src=hash">#Tianzhou1</a> into space, closer to building a space station by approximately 2022 <a href="https://t.co/H3gYf0csy2">https://t.co/H3gYf0csy2</a> <a href="https://t.co/SW7umstvT3">pic.twitter.com/SW7umstvT3</a></p>— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/XHNews/status/855030642014384128">April 20, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <br /> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">UPDATE: China declares launch of cargo spacecraft <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tianzhou1?src=hash">#Tianzhou1</a> a success as it enters designated orbit <a href="https://t.co/JiVaNuhDpb">https://t.co/JiVaNuhDpb</a> <a href="https://t.co/r7CsN3WsGF">pic.twitter.com/r7CsN3WsGF</a></p>— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/XHNews/status/855033081962561536">April 20, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <br /> <p>The Tianzhou-1 spacecraft should dock with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, where two astronauts spent a month last October, in Beijing’s longest-manned space mission.</p> <br /> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Some <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tianzhou1?src=hash">#Tianzhou1</a> launch photos <a href="https://t.co/jwzD0O6UpH">pic.twitter.com/jwzD0O6UpH</a></p>— China Space Report (@ChinaSpaceNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChinaSpaceNews/status/855028709971120128">April 20, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <br /> <h3>US concerns</h3> <p>China’s space programme lags behind those of the US and Russia, despite it making gains for military, commercial and scientific purposes.</p> <p>Washington has drawn attention to Beijing’s increasing capabilities in space, with the US Defense Department accusing China of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other countries from using space-based assets in a crisis.</p> <p>China has previously tested anti-satellite missiles, but insists its ambitions in space are purely peaceful.</p>