China's first cargo spacecraft docks with space lab

April 22, 2017
A Long March 7 orbital launch vehicle carrying China's cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 shortly before lift off at the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on April 20, 2017

China's first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, successfully completed docking with an orbiting space lab on Saturday, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center said.

The Tianzhou-1 was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province Thursday evening and began to approach the lab, Tiangong-2, Saturday morning.

It made first contact with the space lab at 12:16 pm on Saturday (04:16 GMT) and docking was completed at 12:23 pm.

Cargo ships bring supplies and fuel into orbit, and the independent development of one is a "crucial step" toward China's goal of having its own crewed space station by 2022, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The Tianzhou-1 is a tube-like craft which measures 10.6 metres in length and can carry over six tonnes of as well as satellites, Xinhua said.

It will also conduct experiments in space, including one on non-Newtonian gravitation, and will dock two more times with Tiangong-2 before falling back to Earth, Xinhua said.

Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of its rise and of the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.

In 2011, the US Congress ruled that Chinese astronauts would not be allowed on the International Space Station because of national security concerns.

Tiangong-2 went into space on September 15, 2016.

Explore further: China prepares to launch country's first cargo spacecraft

Related Stories

China astronauts enter space module (Update)

June 13, 2013

Three Chinese astronauts Thursday entered a space module after carrying out a successful docking manoeuvre, state media said, two days after the launch of the country's longest manned space mission.

China to launch second space lab in 2016, official says

September 10, 2014

China will launch its second orbiting space laboratory in two years' time, a top official said Wednesday, the latest step in an ambitious space programme Beijing says will one day land a Chinese man on the moon.

Recommended for you

NASA's Mars 2020 rover is put to the test

March 20, 2019

In a little more than seven minutes in the early afternoon of Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars 2020 rover will execute about 27,000 actions and calculations as it speeds through the hazardous transition from the edge of space to ...

8 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

baudrunner
1 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2017
In 2011, the US Congress ruled that Chinese astronauts would not be allowed on the International Space Station because of national security concerns
..actually because they knew full well that the Chinese are quite capable of developing their own space station project, and this was their encouragement.
Dr_Doe
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2017
^^^ honestly... How messed up is that? I understand money and politics but how did china become the enemy? I'm glad they're moving ahead with there own plans and can't wait to see where all this space travel will take us.
nameTest
not rated yet Apr 27, 2017
"Beijing sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of its rise and of the Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.


Lol, and the vatican of democracy, Washington DC, saw this as yet another opportunity to mold the narrative against the Chinese space endeavors.

Strange isn't it, that Washington is so eager to interpret current events for the "free" world. I guess Washington is praying that we the Chinese will distance ourselves from our Communist Party. Sad news for you, we stand for those that are discriminated against. Fuhck the "free" world.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2017
actually because they knew full well that the Chinese are quite capable of developing their own space station project, and this was their encouragement
And actually because sometimes competition is necessary to develop a mature and dependable technology. Apple vs the pc improved the personal computer in ways that wouldnt have happened otherwise.

If a critical flaw is discovered in one development stream you have a viable backup.

Establishing a permanent human presence in space is important enough to justify this sort of wasteful but productive competition. On a similar scale the so-called cold war gave us a mature nuclear technology in a single generation.
nameTest
not rated yet Apr 27, 2017
In 2011, the US Congress ruled that Chinese astronauts would not be allowed on the International Space Station because of national security concerns
..actually because they knew full well that the Chinese are quite capable of developing their own space station project, and this was their encouragement.


Thanks for the encouragements, and unlike the Chinese back in China who doesn't know how to get even with the "free" world, those of us who are "american" know quite well how to be american, that uniquely and exceptionally petty, vindicitive, and scum group of thugs who's been quite successful at branding themselves as the "beacon" of the "free" world.
nameTest
not rated yet Apr 27, 2017
actually because they knew full well that the Chinese are quite capable of developing their own space station project, and this was their encouragement
And actually because sometimes competition is necessary to develop a mature and dependable technology in the way that apple vs the pc improved the personal computer in ways that wouldnt have happened otherwise.

If a critical flaw is discovered in one development stream you have a viable backup.


lol wow, and you wonder why the world cannot defend against the religion of "democracy" and "human rights"; the yenks have perfected the art of mental gymnastics
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2017
Thanks for the encouragements, and unlike the Chinese back in China who doesn't know how to get even with the "free" world
Dont fool yourself - above a certain level everybody's on the same side. Its we who are the enemy and rightly so.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2017
lol wow, and you wonder why the world cannot defend against the religion of "democracy" and "human rights"; the yenks have perfected the art of mental gymnastics
-For instance the ordinary human loves bile and spittle which makes us all so stampedable and yet at the same time so herdable.

Imagine what the ordinary human would do with a nuclear weapon shudder

Ordinary humans will spit in the food you get at the salad bar did you know it? Ordinary humans dress up like ninjas and riot at political gatherings thinking this is something novel. Haha

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.