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In PICS: China's AMAZING space lab of the future

Last updated on: September 26, 2011 15:08 IST

In PICS: China's AMAZING space lab of the future

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China may launch the country's first space laboratory module at the end of this week with hectic last minute preparations in full swing.

The unmanned Tiangong-1 module was originally scheduled to be launched into low Earth orbit between September 27 and 30.

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In PICS: China's AMAZING space lab of the future

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However, the forecasted arrival of a cold air mass at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center has pushed the launch back to September 29 or 30, depending on weather and other factors.

"This is a significant test. We've never done such a thing before," said Lu Jinrong, the launch center's chief engineer was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

A full ground simulation was conducted on Sunday to ensure that the module and its Long March 2F carrier rocket are prepared for the actual launch.

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In PICS: China's AMAZING space lab of the future

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A month ago, a Long March carrier 2C rocket malfunctioned and failed to send an experimental satellite into orbit.

The Tiangong-1 mission was subsequently rescheduled in order to allow engineers to sort out any problems that might occur during the launch. The Tiangong-1 will stay in orbit for two years.

During its mission, it will dock with China's Shenzhou-8, -9 and -10 spacecraft.

Unmanned docking procedures will be essential for China's eventual goal of establishing a manned space station around 2020.



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