China gears up to launch its first cargo spacecraft this month!
China currently is in the process of building permanent station by 2022 to rival Russia's International Space Station (ISS)
New Delhi: In February this year, China announced plans to launch its first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1, using a heavy rocket to carry supplies
for its experimental space laboratory.
On Monday, officials announced the dates for the launch, which is scheduled for some time between April 20 and 24 to dock with the orbiting experimental space station.
Consisting of a cargo capsule and a propellant capsule, the spacecraft has a take-off weight of about 13 tonnes, up to six tonnes of which is
The cargo spacecraft was transferred with a Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket from the testing centre to the launch zone in Wenchang, southern
China's Hainan Province, a statement from the office of China's manned space programme said today.
"The completion of the transfer signals the Tianzhou-1 mission has entered its launching stage," state-run Xinhua quoted the statement as
China currently is in the process of building permanent station by 2022 to rival Russia's International Space Station (ISS).
Technicians have performed several tests during the assembling of the spacecraft and rocket since February, it said.
In the following days, technicians will continue testing the spacecraft and rocket and inject fuel before the launch, it said.
Tianzhou-1 is the first cargo ship independently developed by the country.
It is expected to dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab and conduct in-orbit refuelling, the report said.
The cargo spacecraft will also carry out space experiments, including one on non-Newtonian gravitation, before falling back to earth, it said.
The launch of Tianzhou-1 will be a crucial step for China in building a space station by 2020, as cargo spacecraft are required to ship necessities to astronauts aboard the station.
China plans to conduct a "record" number of 30 space launch missions this year as part of its efforts to expand its ambitious space programme.
(With PTI inputs)