Once upon a time, the US collaborated with other nations to create an International Space Station, a celestial testament to cooperation and discovery. Apparently, the Chinese government saw this and thought, "what a freakin' bunch of pansies, we can do better!"
Not to be outdone by the rest of the world's fancy schmancy International Space Station or whatever, the Chinese are getting ready to launch the first piece of their own space station into orbit later this year.
China's new space palace, called "Tiangong" (or "heavenly palace," see?) will be far smaller than the ISS, tipping the scales up here in zero-g at a mere 60 tons to the 450 tons or so of the ISS. It'll consist of one primary module (the one in the above pic, launching before the end of the year) along with two experiment modules and some extra docking ports for cargo craft.
Not only are they trying to do it by themselves, in a day and age when NASA is being turned into a Best Buy, the Chinese government wants to do the job of a space station more efficiently in less space. Man, that's one determined set of people, that government …