China's second experimental space laboratory prepares for launch in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer
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China launched its second experimental space laboratory on Thursday, part of a broader plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022 .In a manned space mission in 2013, three Chinese astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, the Tiangong 1, or "Heavenly Palace".China will launch a "core module" for its first space station some time around 2018, a senior official said in April, part of a plan for a permanent manned space station in service around 2022 .China has been working to develop its space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes, but is still playing catch-up to established space powers the United States and Russia.
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