Rare Photos of China’s Manned Space Program

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Space exploration isn’t limited to just a couple rival countries anymore. China has developed a successful manned space program over the past decade or so, as demonstrated in this album of the Shenzhou-10 mission, featured on imgur. The photos offer a rare glimpse inside the country’s ambitious program, which, earlier this month, completed a 15-day orbit (its longest mission yet) and docked with the Tiangong-1 Space Laboratory, the first module in a planned permanent space station. The photography below captures a range of cultural touchpoints: rumbling takeoffs, expansive command centers, floating astronauts, excited children waving paper airplanes, and most importantly, a triumphant return:

Other potential plans include manned lunar missions and possibly even a manned mission to Mars.

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