China has launched its new Long March-5 heavy rocket, state media said, sending its payload into orbit in the country's latest step in advancing its space exploration program. The launch comes after China began its longest manned space mission last month, sending two astronauts to spend a month aboard a space laboratory that is part of a broader plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022. The rocket, larger than previous versions of China's Long-March carrier rockets, blasted off on Thursday night from a pad in the southern province of Hainan, state news agency Xinhua said, a launch intended to verify its design and performance.
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