China Launches Space Lab to America the Beautiful

Broadcaster blunders at Tiangong-1 launch
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2011 3:35 AM CDT
China Launches Space Lab to America the Beautiful
A Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with the Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Wang Jianmin)

Weird. China took its first step toward building a space station last night and while the launch of the unmanned Tiangong-1 space lab went smoothly, there was a major slip-up in the propaganda department. State broadcaster CCTV's launch coverage included an animation of the module docking with a crew capsule—to the tune of America the Beautiful, the Guardian reports.

"I don't know how to answer your question," a spokesman for CCTV's propaganda department said when asked why the American patriotic tune was chosen. "I cannot help you." China plans to send up another unmanned module to dock with the Tiangong lab later this year and if the mission is successful, manned missions will follow in 2012. (More China stories.)

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