China seeks its own Apollo moment and more


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On April 25, a Long March 2F rocket briefly lit up the dark desert sky above Jiuquan Spaceport in northwest China, carrying three Shenzhou-18 astronauts to the Tiangong space station. Such missions, including crew handovers, have become remarkably routine for China. China launched just six crewed missions between 2003—which saw its first with Shenzhou-5, making China only the third country capable of independent human spaceflight—and 2020. It has since launched seven, with the Shenzhou-18 crew taking over from the outgoing Shenzhou-17 crew for a new six-month stint in orbit. Just over a week later, at the Wenchang Space Launch Site...