China launches the Tiangong-1 space lab module Sept. 29, 2011 atop a Chinese Long March 2F rocket from the Gobi desert.
Chinese engineers assemble the Long March 2F T1 rocket that will launch the Tiangong 1 space laboratory into orbit in 2011.
This artist's illustration from a China space agency video shows the Tiangong 1 space laboratory, a prototype module for the country's planned space station.
China's Tiangong-1 space lab module, the precursor for a manned space station, launched on Sept. 29, 2011.
The view from China's Long March 2F rocket as it launches the Tiangong-1 module Sept. 29, 2011.
A view of China's Mission Control Center during the launch of Tiangong-1 Sept. 29, 2011
A view of the Long March 2F rocket engines during China's Tiangong-1 liftoff Sept. 29, 2011.
Spacecraft separation for China's Tiangong-1 module from its Long March 2F rocket
China's planned orbit for the Tiangong 1 space lab after launch a 350-kilometer path around Earth.
An illustration of China's Tiangong-1 spacecraft just after its launch on Sept. 29, 2011, as seen from Chinese Mission Control.
China's Tiangong 1 spacecraft and Long March 2F rocket is pictured at the launch site after being transferred from a facility at the Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center.
Display model of Tiangong I module at an exhibition hall at the China Academy of Space Technology, complete with access door for public viewing. A Long March 2F carrier rocket for Tiangong I arrived at China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on July 23. Personnel and facilities from all subsystems and payloads are gathering at the launch center for the mission of the space laboratory, which are reportedly going well.
A Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft closes in on the country's Tiangong 1 space lab in this still from a mission profile video.
This still from a China space agency video shows a cutaway of a Shenzhou spacecraft docked at the country's Tiangong 1 space lab, showing how astronauts will move between the two Chinese spacecraft.
China plans to dispose of the Tiangong 1 space laboratory by commanding it to burn up in Earth's atmosphere at the end of a two-year mission.