China’s Tiangong 1 space station has passed its factory evaluation and was shipped to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 29 to be prepped for launch within the next three months, the China National Space Administration announced.
China plans to launch the small space station on a Long March IIF rocket by the end of September. The unmanned Shenzhou VIII vehicle will dock with the facility weeks later to test the rendezvous and docking system. Two human missions will follow.
Nine meters (30 feet) and weighing 9,500 kilograms (19,000 lbs.), Tiangong 1 is roughly half the size of Salyut 1, the first space station sent into orbit by Russia in 1971.