China launches main part of its 1st permanent space station

BEIJING (AP) — China has launched the main module of its first permanent space station that will host astronauts long term. The Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, module blasted into space atop a Long March 5B rocket from China’s launch center on the island province of Hainan. It’s the first of 11 missions to build and provision the station and send up a three-person crew by the end of next year. The core module is where astronauts will live on the station for six months at a time. Two modules will be added where the crew will conduct experiments. China’s space program has also recently brought back lunar samples and expects to land a probe and rover on Mars next month.