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China's Manned Space Program

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China's manned space program is now entering its second decade, with ambitious plans including a permanent space station, manned lunar missions, and a possible manned mission to Mars in 2040-2060. Two weeks ago, the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft landed safely with a crew of three in inner Mongolia. The mission was the longest yet for China -- 15 days in orbit, including a successful docking with the Tiangong-1 Space Laboratory, the first module in a planned space station. To date, China has successfully put eight astronauts into orbit in five missions. Chinese authorities are vague about announcing future missions, so no specific launch dates have been announced for Shenzou-11 or Tiangong-2 (2nd module of the Tiangong program space station). gathered here are images of the Shenzhou-10 mission, and several other highlights from the past decade of Chinese manned spaceflight. [29 photos]

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Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng waves before stepping out of the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it landed in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on June 26, 2013. Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Wednesday, touching down after a successful 15-day mission in which they docked with a space laboratory. (Reuters/China Daily)
Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng waves before stepping out of the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it landed in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on June 26, 2013. Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Wednesday, touching down after a successful 15-day mission in which they docked with a space laboratory. (Reuters/China Daily)
The Long March 2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou 10 capsule blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, on June 11, 2013. The Shenzhou 10 capsule carrying three astronauts lifted off on a 15-day mission to dock with a space lab and to educate young people about science. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #
Researchers test China's first space station module Tiangong-1 inside the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, on the edge of the Gobi Desert. China launched the experimental module on September 29, 2011, to lay the groundwork for a future space station underscoring its ambitions to become a major space power. (AP Photo) #
Chinese astronauts Fei Junlong (left) and Yang Liwei walk past training simulation equipment during a media tour of the China Astronaut Center at Beijing Aerospace City, on April 29, 2011. (Reuters/David Gray) #
Chinese astronaut Fei Junlong's boots, during a media tour of the China Astronaut Center at Beijing Aerospace City, on April 29, 2011. (Reuters/David Gray) #
Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng (rear) and Zhang Xiaoguang during training at Beijing Aerospace City in Beijing, on April 14, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) #
The Shenzhou 10 spacecraft, carried by a Long March-2F carrier rocket is moved into place at the launch pad in Jiuquan, Gansu province, on the morning of June 3, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Assembly of the Long March 2F rocket and the Shenzhou 10 space capsule at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, on June 3, 2013. (AP Photo) #
Chinese astronauts from left, Wang Yaping, Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang wave from behind a glass enclosure as they arrive to meet the press at the Jiuquan satellite launch center, on June 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #
Technicians prepare to assemble the cover of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, on August 26, 2008. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Zhang An (front) and other Chinese women take part in a test held by China's air force in Lanzhou, Gansu province, in March of 2005. China's air force selected around 30 women pilots including Zhang An, some of whom are reportedly intended to be future astronauts. They will embark on a space mission no later than 2010, working as flight commanders or on-board engineers, an official with China's space program announced. (Reuters/China Newsphoto) #
Chinese astronauts (from left) Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping salute in a re-entry capsule during a training at Beijing Aerospace City in Beijing, on April 29, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer) #
The Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship and the Long-March II-F rocket sit on the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center,on September 20, 2008. (Reuters/Stringer) #
People observe the Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lift off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, on June 11, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer) #
The Long March 2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou 10 capsule blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #
Chinese chief mission commander Zhang Youxia (center) salutes after he announced the successful launch of the Shenzhou-10 rocket from the Jiuquan space center in the Gobi Desert, on June 11, 2013. (AFP/Getty Images) #
Chinese technicians congratulate each other after the Shenzhou-10 rocket launched successfully from the Jiuquan space center, on June 11, 2013. (AFP/Getty Images) #
A policeman stands guard next to a component of the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft which was found in Badain Jaran Desert after the launch, in Alxa League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on June 12, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer) #
China's Shenzhou-7 spaceship, viewed by a small monitoring satellite six seconds after it was released from the spaceship on Sept. 27, 2008. Launched about two hours after Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang finished the country's first spacewalk, the monitoring satellite has sent back over 1,000 pictures of the spaceship, Xinhua said. (AP Photo/Xinhua) #
In this video grab taken at the Beijing Space Command and Control Center released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Saturday, September 27, 2008, Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang steps outside the orbit module of the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft for a spacewalk. (AP Photo/Xinhua) #
Students watch a live broadcast of a lecture given by Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a school in Beijing, on June 20, 2013. Chinese astronauts of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft gave a lecture from the Tiangong-1 space module, some 340 km (211 mi) above the earth. According to Xinhua News Agency, more than 60 million students and teachers watched the live broadcast on television across the country. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Chinese technicians at the Jiuquan Space Center monitor the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft as it prepares to link with the Tiangong-1 module just over a week into a manned space mission which included China's first female astronaut, following an automatic docking, on June 24, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
A photo of the giant screen at the Jiuquan space center shows Chinese astronauts (from left) Liu Wang, Jing Haipeng and Liu Yang in the Tiangong-1 module on June 18, 2012. The three astronauts entered an orbiting module for the first time, in a move broadcast live on China's state television. (STR/AFP/GettyImages) #
A student looks at an iPad as his class watches a live broadcast of a lecture given by Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a primary school in Quzhou, Zhejiang province, on June 20, 2013. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Pupils fly paper planes during a live broadcast of a lecture given by Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts aboard the Tiangong-1 space module, at a primary school in Hengyang, Hunan province, on June 20, 2013. (Reuters/China Daily) #
The return capsule of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft lands in the grasslands of north China's Inner Mongolia region, on June 26, 2013, following a 15-day mission in space. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images) #
Chinese astronauts, from left, Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping celebrate after stepping out of the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou 10 spacecraft following its successful landing at the main landing site in Siziwang Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on June 26, 2013. (AP Photo) #
The re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft is loaded onto a truck after it landed at in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on June 26, 2013. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waves during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, on June 16, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #

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