Commander-in-chief of China’s manned space program Chang Wanquan announced that the launch of Shenzhou 8 spacecraft is successful. The unmanned craft blasted off at 5:58 a.m. Beijing Time Tuesday on a Long March CZ-2F rocket at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia.
China will launch an unmanned module next week, paving the way for a planned space station, a spokesman for the space program said on Tuesday.
The 8.5-ton module, and the Long March II-F rocket that will carry it skyward, were positioned onto the launch pad on Tuesday, signaling that the project has entered the final preparation stage.
“Scientists will conduct final tests in the next few days before injecting propellants for the launch,” Cui Jijun, director of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, said.