Successful start to China's fifth human spaceflight

Three Chinese astronauts, led by a veteran of a previous space mission, soared into orbit Tuesday to begin a 15-day voyage to China's Tiangong 1 space lab, a flight officials say will expand the capabilities of the country's manned space program.

The 191-foot-tall Long March 2F rocket, powered by 1.4 million pounds of thrust, lifted off at 0938 GMT (5:38 a.m. EDT; 5:38 p.m. Beijing time) from the Jiuquan space base in northwest China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Less than 10 minutes later, after a dazzling launch broadcast on Chinese state television, the 8.5-ton Shenzhou 10 capsule arrived in orbit. A few moments later, the spacecraft extended its two solar array wings to generate electricity.

These images were taken from the official CCTV broadcast of the launch, showing views from cameras from both the ground and on-board the rocket. The images show liftoff, separation of the launcher's emergency escape tower, jettison of the Long March's first stage and four liquid-fueled boosters, and deployment of the solar arrays.

See our Mission Status Center for the latest news on the launch.

Photo credit: CCTV/Spaceflight Now

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