|China finishes construction of first unmanned space module|
BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- China has finished construction of its first unmanned space module, Tiangong-1, and it is testing the module's electronic, mechanical and thermal properties, a military source said here Tuesday.
The 8.5-tonne Tiangong-1 will be put into preset orbit in 2011, the source added.
The space module is expected to carry out China's first space docking, with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, which will be launched in the second half of 2011 after Tiangong-1.
The source said experts are currently building the Shenzhou-8 and testing the Long March II-F carrier rocket on which the Tiangong-1 is expected to be launched.
Chinese astronauts, including two females, are undergoing training for the space docking, the source said.
Earlier reports said two other spacecraft, the Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spaceships, will be launched in 2012 and will also dock with Tiangong-1.