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China launches core module of space station
Posted: Sun, May 2, 2021, 10:53 AM ET (1453 GMT)
Long March 5B launch of Tianhe space station module (Xinhua) China launched the core module of its space station Wednesday night. A Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket lifted off from the coastal Wenchang spaceport at 11:23 pm EDT (0323 GMT Thursday), deploying the Tianhe module into low Earth orbit. Tianhe, or "harmony of the heavens," is now expected to raise its orbit to around 370 kilometers above the Earth. The uncrewed Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft is scheduled to rendezvous and dock with Tianhe in mid-late May, ahead of the visit of three astronauts aboard Shenzhou-12 in June. Those will be the first of 11 launches across 2021 and 2022 to build the planned 66-ton, three-module orbital outpost.
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