China readies its own space station module for launch

Presumably feeling a little left out after being turned down from the global love-in that is the International Space Station, China's decided to go it alone. The ever-expanding nation will be ready to launch the first module of it's very own space station, the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace), by the end of this month. The initial launch will be unmanned, delivering an 8.5-ton module ready for docking practise and other interactions with three more spacecraft that are planned to join it later this year. Pegged for completion by 2020 and with a complete weight of over 60 tons, the Tiangong will look positively petite compared to the hulking 419-ton ISS, but is also said to be significantly cheaper. Meanwhile, we still await China's take on the Robonaut.