Chinese officials unveiled plans for Monday's launch of the country's latest space mission in which two astronauts will be blasted into space and will dock with an orbiting space lab. Astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong will be on board the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft as it blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, the official Xinhua news agency reported Sunday. They will arrive at China's orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 within two days and stay for 30 more before returning to earth. China says its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.
We're very excited...to have the biggest show back in town.Sarah Daugherty, test director at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility
Orbital ATK, one of NASA's shippers, aims to launch its own cargo ship Sunday night from Wallops Island to the International Space Station. The company's retooled Antares rocket will do the honors. An Antares promptly exploded the last time one took off, on a space station supply run for NASA on Oct. 28, 2014. Orbital ATK spent the past two years redesigning the unmanned rocket and rebuilding the launch pad.