China plans to launch 1st Cargo Spacecraft in April

14 Février, 2017, 15:21 | Auteur: Ludovic Moineau
  • Above Tianzhou-1 undergoing testing at the AIT centre in Tianjin North China

Its assembly and testing will now take place, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA). Plans for the maiden voyage of the cargo spacecraft were reported on the front page of the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper.

The country has announced its plans to launch its first cargo spacecraft using a heavy rocket to carry supplies for its experimental space laboratory.

The 13-tonne, 9m long and 3.35m diameter Tianzhou vessels will perform a similar role to Russia's expendable Progress cargo spacecraft, used to refuel and resupply the InternationalSpace Station.

Tianzhou-1 consists of a cargo capsule and a propellant capsule and is the first cargo spacecraft independently developed by China.

It can remain in space on its own for as long as three months and is capable of docking with the Tiangong-2 space lab and refuelling it in addition to carrying out experiments and tests.

The Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket will arrive at the launch centre in March, the CMSA said. The overall take-off load of the cargo spacecraft is almost 13 tonne.

With the launch of Tianzhou-1, China will be able to build a space station by 2020 because cargo spacecrafts need to ship necessities to astronauts aboard the station.

The Tianzhou-1 is designed in such a way that it will be easily docked with Tiangong 2. So, it seems that China is preparing itself for the manned space station project with proper care and solutions.

The record-breaking number of space launches will start with Long March-5 and Long March-7 rockets, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation had said earlier.