China launched a spacecraft on Thursday carrying three astronauts to the main module of the country's space station, its first crewed mission in nearly five years.
China's first full-fledged space station is still under construction. When completed, it will be the only rival to the International Space Station (ISS) backed by the United States, Japan, and Russia. China has never participated in the ISS.
Here is a timeline of key moments in Chinese space exploration: