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China's 1st attempt to build own space station successful (2)

(Xinhua)

08:16, September 30, 2011

President Hu Jintao watched the launch from the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center yesterday, two days before China's National Day, witnessing the latest endeavor of China's manned space program since 1992.

Premier Wen Jiabao was at the launch center to watch the launch process.

"Tiangong-1 has gone into the dark sky! We Chinese are on the way to inhabiting the vast universe," wrote Qichaoxiguanghai on Weibo.

With a room of 15 cubic meters for two to three astronauts to conduct research and experiments in the future, China's first space lab module is hardly the size of a palace.

But its name "Heavenly Palace" speaks of a dream home from Chinese folklore, long envisioned as a secret place where deities reside.

The 8.5-ton module is to stay aloft for two years, after which two other experimental modules are to be launched for additional tests before the actual station is launched in three sections between 2020 and 2022.

The space station, which is yet to be formally named, is the most ambitious project in China's exploration of space, which also calls for landing on the moon, possibly with astronauts.

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