Long March launch
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China launches space lab into orbit

29 September 2011 Last updated at 15:12 BST

China has launched its first space laboratory, Tiangong-1.

The 10.5m-long, cylindrical module will be unmanned for the time being, but the country's astronauts, or yuhangyuans, are expected to visit it next year.

Tiangong-1 will demonstrate the critical technologies needed by China to build a fully fledged space station - something it has promised to do at the end of the decade.

The space lab made the journey into orbit atop a Long March 2F rocket.