Updated at: 02/28/2013 8:08 AM
(AP) BEIJING - China says it will send three astronauts on a mission to its orbiting space station this summer.
The country’s manned space program released a statement Thursday saying the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft would take flight sometime between June and August. It will deliver its crew to the Tiangong 1, where they will conduct further tests of the station’s docking system and its systems for supporting life and carrying out scientific work.
Two Chinese spacecraft, one of them manned, have docked with Tiangong 1 since it was launched in September 2011. The station is to be replaced with a permanent space station around 2020 that will weigh about 60 tons, slightly smaller than NASA’s Skylab of the 1970s and about one-sixth the size of the 16-nation International Space Station.
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