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How China plans to pull ahead in the space race

Chinese rocket on launch crawler
A Chinese cargo rocket moves from the testing center to the launch pad. Photo by Sun Hao / VCG via Getty

In the past decade, China has steadily poured money into the research and development arm of its national space organization, eclipsing Russia and emerging as the United States' top competitor in the international space race.

The bottom line: The second 50 years of the Space Age will be marked by China's international leadership role in space.