China’s bid to catch-up with established space super powers, the US and Russia, will take another step forward later today.
Three astronauts, two men and a woman will climb aboard the Shenzhou 10 rocket as part of China’s fifth manned space mission since 2003.
Once in orbit the craft will dock with a trial space laboratory module called Tiangong where over the next two weeks the astronauts will carry out various experiments.
The Shenzhou 10 was moved earlier this month to the launch area in the remote Gobi desert in China’s far west ready for Tuesday’s launch at 11.38 Central European Time.
Although China is still someway behind its space rivals, Beijing says it has plans for an unmanned moon landing and the deployment of a moon rover. However sending an astronaut to the moon is unlikely before 2020.