China will launch a space station module Tiangong-1 next week, that would be the first step toward a Chinese space station.
The Asian giant sees its space program as a symbol of its global power, the growing technological capabilities and successful leadership of the Communist Party in the transformation of this once-impoverished country.
Originally scheduled to launch Tiangong-1 (which literally translates as "heavenly palace") in the past year, but for technical reasons not to disclose the launch was postponed.
The representative of the Jiuquan space center, located in the northwestern province of Gansu, said that the launch date has been postponed for the period from 27 to 30 September, just before the day of the PRC, which will be celebrated on October 1.
According to news agency Xinhua, the module Tiangong-1 and the carrier rocket "Long March-2F", that will take the module into space, are already on the launch pad of the Baikonur.
The module, which weighs eight tons, will remain in orbit for two years.
Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut, told reporters in April that China’s first attempt to implement the dock the Tiangong-1 to another unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8, in the second half of this year.
If the attempt is completed successfully, the module docked with two other ships with the astronauts on board - Shenzhou 9 and 10 in 2012.
By 2016, China will launch a space laboratory and, Yang said, "around 2020, we plan to implement the creation of a space station in orbit for long-term stays in space."
China’s space station will consist of this module, the cargo ship and a manned rocket. The total weight of the station will be 60 tons. For comparison, the Russian station Mir weighed 137 tons, and the International Space Station weighs 419 tons.
China has become the third world power, which independently send a man into space - after Russia and the United States. This happened in 2003, when Ian made a space flight aboard the Shenzhou-5 single.
In September 2008, three cosmonauts aboard the Shenzhou-7, made the first in the history of China’s spacewalk.