China successfully launches Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft | News

China’s Tianzhou 5 space freighter has successfully docked with the core module of the future Tiangong space station, the Manned Space Flight Agency (CMSA) said.


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China launched the Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft on Saturday to deliver supplies for its space station, construction of which is expected to be completed this year.

The cargo spacecraft was assembled and docked with the space station at 12:10 a.m. local time, about two hours after launch. This is the fastest time that such an operation has been completed.

“I would say the launch went smoothly…in fact, smoothly,” said Mao Wanbiao, deputy director of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, which manages the Wenchang launch site.

The spacecraft is carrying about five tons of goods and materials and 1.4 tons of propellant for the space station complex, including essential supplies for the three astronauts on the upcoming Shenzhou-15 mission.

It also carries research projects such as a scientific outreach satellite, a space hydrogen and oxygen fuel cell system, and a broad-spectrum high-energy particle detection equipment.

The Tianzhou-5 launch is the 200th launch mission for the Xichang Satellite Launch Center this year, as well as the last for the Wenchang launch site this year.

Currently, three astronauts who arrived in early June aboard Shenzhou 14 remain on the station: Chen Dong, Cai Xuzhe and Liu Yang, the first Chinese female astronaut who made a trip to orbit in June 2012.

In 2022, China plans to launch six space missions, including two manned flights, to complete the construction of its orbiting station.

The Chinese orbital station, Tiangong (Heavenly Palace), will have three main components: the central capsule, Tianhe, which will connect to two space laboratories, Wentian and Mengtian. The Xuntian Space Telescope will also be attached to the station.