China invites Pak space experts on launch of unmanned space station

China invites Pak space experts on launch of unmanned space station

KARACHI (APP): China invited Pakistani space scientists along with host of guests from foreign countries to observe the launch of Tiangong II space laboratory on Thursday night that would pave the way for a Chinese manned space station.

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The Deputy Director Wu Ping of the China Manned Space Agency also spokeswoman for the agency, told reporters at a news conference in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center that a Long March 2F carrier rocket was being fueled and would lift the Tiangong II from the Jiuquan center on 10:04 pm Thursday.

"By now, all of the mission's elements have completed their preparations and rehearsals," the China Daily quoted her.

"The Tiangong II mission will lay a solid foundation and gather valuable experience for the building and operation of our future manned space station," she said.

Tiangong II , China 's second space lab, has two cabins with different functions - the experiment cabin will be hermetically sealed and will act as the astronauts' living quarters, and the resource cabin will contain solar panels, storage batteries, propellant and engines.

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The space lab is 10.4 meters high, 3.35 meters in diameter and weighs 8.6 metric tons. It is designed to work two years in the space, Wu said.

China launched its first space lab, Tiangong I, in September 2011. Despite its designated life span of two years, it was in service for four and a half. It made six automatic and astronaut-controlled dockings with China 's Shenzhou VIII, Shenzhou IX and Shenzhou X spacecraft.

During its mission, Tiangong II will dock with the Shenzhou XI manned spacecraft and Tianzhou 1 cargo spaceship.

Space experts and officials from several nations including Germany, Italy and Pakistan , as well as the European Space Agency will be in the Jiuquan center to witness the launch.

China 's manned space program intends to put a permanent manned space station into service. It will consist of a core module attached to two 20-ton labs, around the year 2022, according to the manned space agency.

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