China launching Tiangong-1 on Thursday

Updated: 2011-09-28 09:45

By Xin Dingding (

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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.

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.

A spokesperson with China's manned space program said Wednesday that fuel has been injected into Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket in preparation for launching the Tiangong-1 space module Thursday evening as planned.

The Long March-2FT1 is the latest modified model of Long March-2 rocket series with more powerful thrust force, said the spokeswoman Wu Ping at a press conference in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

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

China is confident in the upcoming launch of its first space lab module Tiangong-1, although space launches are highly risky, said Wu.

Despite August's failed satellite launch, China remains full of confidence and anticipation, Wu said.

She said among the more than 1,600 space launches around the world since 1990, 93.7 percent were successful, while China has successfully conducted 94.4 percent of its nearly 130 space launches.

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