China's soon-to-be-lofted space lab module - Tiangong-2. Credit: CCTV

China’s soon-to-be-lofted space lab module – Tiangong-2.
Credit: CCTV

China is in final checkout mode for its next piloted space mission – a multi-faceted undertaking that lays the foundation for the country to construct in Earth orbit a multi-modular space station in the 2020s.

Both the Tiangong-2 (meaning “Heavenly Palace”) and the piloted Shenzhou-11 spacecraft are now undergoing checkout at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

To be rocketed spaceward in mid-September, China’s Tiangong-2 is a true “space lab” that will verify key technologies for building China’s space station, explains its chief designer, Zhu Zongpeng.

For more information on China’s next space traveling step, go to my new story at:

China Readies Next ‘Heavenly Palace’ for Mid-September Launch

By Leonard David,’s Space Insider Columnist

August 31, 2016 07:00am ET

Also, take a look at this set of YouTube videos on China preparations:

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