When the Chinese National Space Agency launches the Shenzou-12 spacecraft on June 17, it will carry three astronauts to China’s new orbiting space station, the Tiangong, for the first time.

While China’s plans for this floating laboratory are dwarfed by the International Space Station, which has seen astronauts come and go for more than 20 years, the Shenzou-12 represents the next step in a new space race between China and the US.

But unlike the space race of the Cold War era between the Soviet Union and US, this one has little to do with conflicting ideologies or political-economic systems. Instead, this new race is about establishing a long-term presence in outer space, including on the Moon. China is already on track to beat the US in this respect, according to some experts.

To find out more and why Nasa and private companies like SpaceX need to up their game in some experts’ eyes, watch the video above.

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