The plan is now 25 years old, but the Chinese are sticking with it. In 1992, China adopted a three-stage approach to manned spaceflight. With the launch of an automated cargo spacecraft on April 20, the second stage is almost complete. Next comes the third stage: building a space station. The freighter Tianzhou 1, the largest spacecraft yet launched by China, had to wait until the country’s new workhorse launcher, the late-running Long March 7, was available. With a throw-weight to ...

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