Seven years ago, the Space Shuttle was still flying, though not for much longer. China had yet to fly its multi-crew Shenzhou missions to the Tiangong orbital space laboratory, or land the Yutu “Jade Rabbit” rover on the moon, in each case becoming just the first nation after the US and USSR to achieve the feat. I wrote these impressions of the 14 May 2010 launch before I knew much about the Chinese program, and before I’d processed the black and white images included below.

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