China says it has successfully launched the second module of its space station that is due to be completed by the year-end.
State-run China Central Television reported that the Long March 5B rocket carrying the laboratory module Wentian lifted off from the southern island of Hainan on Sunday.
Wentian is to dock with the core module Tianhe. The broadcaster said astronauts will conduct life science experiments in Wentian, including research on the growth of plants and animals in a space environment.
Another lab module is scheduled to be launched in October as the last part of the space station.
China is stepping up efforts to become a leading country in space development, sending probes to the moon and Mars in addition to constructing the space station.
The government is believed to be stressing the progress of the construction, as President Xi Jinping aims to secure an unprecedented third term at the Communist Party Congress this autumn.
This is the third time China has launched the Long March 5B rocket.
When the rocket re-entered the atmosphere after the first launch in 2020, it was reported that what appeared to be its debris fell onto the West African nation of Cote d'Ivoire and damaged buildings.