When trailing far behind, there is no reason to sprint; better to take it steady and not stumble. That has been a guiding principle of the Chinese civilian space program, of which Tiangong-2, a new orbital laboratory that has now received its first astronaut occupants, is a classic example. Following the last demonstration of orbital docking by its outwardly similar predecessor, Tiangong-1, more than three years ago, Tiangong-2 is working to minimize the risk of the remaining technology for ...

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