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BEIJING: China has postponed the planned launch Thursday of a rocket carrying supplies for its new space station due to technical reasons, state media said.

The China Manned Space Agency gave no details on what the reasons were, and said only that a new launch time would be “determined later,” the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The blast-off was to have taken place just days after China landed a rover on Mars, as it hustles ahead with its extraterrestrial ambitions.

Beijing has pumped billions into its space programme in a bid to make up ground on pioneers Russia and the United States, with ambitious projects in Earth orbit and the landing of uncrewed craft on the Moon and Mars.

But it was heavily reprimanded by the United States and many experts for a potentially dangerous breach of space etiquette for letting a massive rocket segment free-fall to Earth earlier this month after launching the core module of China’s space station.

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