Tiangong-1 to be launched Thursday

Updated: 2011-09-28 09:45

By Xin Dingding (chinadaily.com.cn)

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JIUQUAN, Gansu - China will launch the country's first space laboratory module between 9:16 and 9:31 pm on Thursday, paving the way for its own space station, a spokesperson confirmed.

Tiangong-1 to be launched Thursday
The 8.5-ton Tiangong-1 spacecraft and the Long March II-F rocket stand at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Sept 20. The spacecraft is set to blast off on Thursday. [Shu Dong/for China Daily]

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That launch, if carried out successfully, will mark the completion of China's first rendezvous and docking mission.

The unmanned Tiangong-1 will blast off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in Northwest China.

Final preparations are being made for the launch of Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace. Propellant will be injected into the Long March II-F T1 rocket carrier on Wednesday.

Shenzhou VIII spaceship, also unmanned, will be launched in early November to rendezvous and dock with Tiangong-1.