JIUQUAN, China (AP) — China successfully launched a three-man crew into space Thursday to carry out the country’s first spacewalk, beginning the nation’s most challenging space mission since it first sent a person into space in 2003.

The Shenzhou 7 mission was the first to carry a full complement of three astronauts, one of whom will perform China’s first space walk, or EVA for “extra-vehicular activity.”

Shenzhou 7 is China’s third manned mission.

This sends the big message to the global market that China is now in the satellite business and can offer an alternative to other suppliers. After all, if China can successfully send humans into space then it can also send satellites.

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