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China to Launch Tiangong-2 Space Lab Thursday
SOURCE: Xinhua     UPDATED: 2016-09-15

JIUQUAN, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- China will launch the Tiangong-2 space lab from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert at 10:04 p.m. on Thursday.

Engineers have begun injecting propellant into the the Long March-2F T2 rocket which will carry Tiangong-2 into space, Wu Ping, deputy director of the manned space engineering office, told the press on Wednesday afternoon.

Once in space, Tiangong-2 will maneuver itself into an orbit about 380 kilometers above the Earth for initial tests. It will then transfer to a slightly higher orbit about 393 kilometers above the Earth when Shenzhou-11will ferry two astronauts to the lab.

The astronauts will remain in Tiangong-2 for 30 days, she said.

In April 2017, China's first cargo spaceship Tianzhou-1, which literally means "heavenly vessel," will dock with Tiangong-2 and provide it with fuel and supplies.

Experiments related to medicine, physics and biology, such as quantum key transmission, space atomic clocks and solar storm research, will be carried out in the lab, she said.