China is set to launch its first unmanned space module on Tuesday. The world's third biggest country will launch the test module into orbit via Long March II-F rocket, which is developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
The module named as Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace 1) weighs 8.5 ton, and will help Beijing set its feet in constructing a space station by 2020. The module, which will stay in orbit around earth for two years, will also prove the nation's growing technical expertise in international community.
China had planned Tiangong 1's launch last year, but due to technical reasons the placement of the module in orbit was delayed.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, both Tiangong-1 and the Long March 2-F rocket that will take the module into space are already in place on a launch platform at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province.
According to Space.com, China is only the third country, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to launch a person to orbit. The first Chinese manned mission, Shenzhou 5, launched astronaut Yang Liwei in 2003. Two more manned missions followed, including a flight that featured the nation's first spacewalk in 2008.