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BEIJING - China launched its first privately developed rocket from a launchpad in northwestern China on Thursday, state media said, the latest milestone in the country's ambitious space exploration program.
Since coming to office in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made becoming a "space flight superpower" a top priority for the Chinese government, which has a goal of sending a permanent manned space station into orbit by around 2022.
The launch of the "Chongqing Liangjiang Star" rocket, developed by OneSpace Technology, a Beijing-based private firm, marks the first time a non-state Chinese rocket has successfully entered orbit, the official Xinhua news agency said.
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