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China launches its longest manned space mission

China launches its longest manned space mission
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China has launched its longest manned space mission, sending two men into orbit to spend a month on board a space laboratory.

The astronauts on this latest mission were Jing Haipeng, 49, who has already been to space twice, and 37-year-old Chen Dong.

The Shenzhou 11 blasted off on a Long March rocket from the remote launch site in Jiuquan, in the Gobi desert, in images carried live on state television.

They will dock with the experimental Tiangong 2 space lab which was sent into space last month.

This mission which is a source of considerable national pride is being seen as pointers to possible crewed missions to the Moon or Mars.