China is to set enter its own Space Age with the launch of its first independent space lab module.
The Tiangong-1, which translates to Heavenly Palace, is anticipated to usher in a new era of Chinese space exploration that includes a proposed space station China intends to build around 2020.
The three-story cigar-shaped module will be used to practice robotics and docking needed for any eventual space station, Chinese officials told Xinhua, the China's state news agency.
The rocket is set to blast off either Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather outlook in northwest China, Xinhua reported.
Engineers began final preparations prior for the launch of the spacecraft on Monday at the Juiquan Satellite Launch Center. So far, a full ground simulation has been done to make sure the module and its carrier rocket Long March 2F are prepared for the journey.
Once launched, Tiangong-1 will remain in orbit for a two-year mission during which time it'll dock with three spacecrafts: China's Shenzhou 8, Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10.
This is a significant test, Lu Jinrong, the launch center's chief engineer, told Xinhua. We've never done such a thing before.
The unmanned spacecraft was initially scheduled to lift off into low Earth orbit between Tuesday and Friday. However, that launch was hampered by poor weather at the launch center, forcing officials to reschedule the date pending better weather. Weather forecasts had shown that a cold air mass would arrive in the area.
Similarly, an earlier launch of Tiangong-1 was also met with delays following a satellite launching failure in August when a Long March 2C rocket malfunctioned and was unsuccessful in sending the Shijian XI-04 satellite into orbit.
Chinese officials took the initiative to reschedule the launch of its first experimental space station because of safety concerns, Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the country's manned space program, told Xinhua.
On Tuesday, the space program commander said the country's first docking will move forward as planned.
Experts told Fox News that an achievement of this sort for China will be a huge step forward for the country's young space program.
China has hope of building a 60-ton manned space station in nine years' time.
Cui Jijun, commander-in-chief of the launch site system and director of Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, told Xinhua that they've so far developed a new target spacecraft for the mission. They've also made more than 170 technical improvements to the Long March 2F.
An additional 100 or more updates have been made at the launch site to ensure it's compatible with the Tiangong-1, said Cui.
[The launch site] has the full conditions to conduct the Tiangong-1 mission, he said.