Science, Tech & Environment

China's Ambitious Space Program a Point of National Pride

China has launched its most ambitious space mission yet.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Over the weekend, the Shenzhou-9 blasted off with three astronauts on board — including for the first time, a woman.

The astronauts will attempt to manually dock a space module which is a technically challenging maneuver.

Host Marco Werman talks with The World's Mary Kay Magistad on the significance of this space mission.

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    Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang (C) and Liu Yang (L), China's first female astronaut, wave during a departure ceremony at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, June 16, 2012. China will send its first woman into outer space this week, prompting a surge of national pride as the rising power takes its latest step towards putting a space station in orbit within the decade. Liu Yang, a 33-year-old fighter pilot, will join two other astronauts aboard the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft when it lifts off from a remote Gobi Desert launch site on Saturday evening. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)