China successfully launches first cargo mission to a new space station

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The Tianzhou-2, or “celestial ship” in Chinese, exploded through a Y3 Long March 7 rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern island of Hainan, said the Engineering Bureau of the Manned Space by China. Image courtesy of China / Gao Jian’s manned space engineering office.

China successfully launched an automatic cargo supply spacecraft on Saturday to meet with an in-orbit module, in the second in a series of missions needed to complete its first permanent spacecraft.

The Tianzhou 2 spacecraft launched today (May 29) from the Wenchang satellite launch center on the Chinese island of Hainan, which came out of the cushion at the top of a long-range rocket. March at 8:55 am EDT (1255 GMT; 20:55 local time). It deployed its solar matrices as expected and is in good health, according to China’s manned space engineering office (CMS).

The Tianzhou-2 without luggage carries 4.69 tons of cargo under pressure and 1.95 tons of propellant, according to Space.com. If all goes according to plan, the cargo spacecraft will transport these goods to Tianhe, the 22.5-tonne core module of China’s planned space station, which was launched on April 28th.

The construction of the Tiangong Orbital Space Station it is expected to be completed in 2022 after eleven missions, including three different module launches, four cargo vehicle launches and four manned launches. Image courtesy of Mark Crawford, NASA Spaceflight, .com.

Tianzhou has an illustrious history

According to NASA, this latest launch of the Tianzhou 2 marks the second flight of the spacecraft and the first such mission in support of a crew. And the probe has an interesting history, which is worth repeating.

April 20, 2017 was the debut mission of the Tianzhou class unmanned cargo spacecraft. Tianzhou means “heavenly ship” in Chinese. Tianzhou 1 was launched by a Long March 7 rocket and successfully docked on Tiangong-2 space laboratory on April 22, 2017.

Tiangong-2 was not designed or planned to be a permanent orbital station; instead, it was used to test key technologies that will be used on China’s large modular space station that is now in orbit. Tiangong-2 later made one controlled re-entry on July 19, 2019 and burned in the South Pacific Ocean.

Tianzhou-2 is the second of 11 missions needed to complete China’s first self-developed space station by 2022. The new three-module space station will compete with the only other station in service, the International Space Station (ISS). , seconds Reuters.

Tianzhou is designed for a round trip to the Chinese space station. At the end of its mission, it will be exorbitant and burned as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The arrival of Tianzhou 2 and its supplies will be the last major milestone before the first manned launch at the station, currently scheduled no earlier than June 10 with the Shenzhou 12 mission.

The flight will mark the seventh manned Chinese space flight and the seventh manned flight of the Shenzhou Program.

Next year, China will launch the other two basic modules, Wentian and Mengtian, with the Long March 5B, its largest and most powerful space transportation vehicle.

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