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China prepares to launch space laboratory

China will take the first step to having its own space station tomorrow, launching the Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace" space laboratory.


The unmanned, 8.5 ton Tiangong-1 will help to test the technologies that China plans to use in its space station, which is scheduled for completion by 2020. It will also be used as a docking target for the unmanned Shenzhou 8 space craft which is expected to launch by the end of this year. If that mission succeeds, Chinese astronauts could fly to Tiangong-1 next year, dock, and live aboard it.

If China can demonstrate it has a functioning docking system, it could also begin to dock with the International Space Station. China has held up its ambitious space programme as a symbol of its growing technological expertise.

The module's launch arrives just before China's National Day celebrations on October 1.

Read more here: telegraph.co.uk
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