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Chinese Shenzhou craft launches on key space mission

China has taken the next step in its quest to become a major space power with the launch of the unmanned Shenzhou 8 vehicle.

The spacecraft rode a Long March 2F rocket into orbit where it will attempt to rendezvous and dock with the Tiangong-1 lab, launched in September.

It would be the first time China has joined two space vehicles together.

The capability is required if the country is to carry through its plan to build a space station by about 2020.

Michael Bristow reports from Beijing.

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