China launches its first unmanned cargo spacecraft

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Apr 21, 2017Local, Science & Technology 0


    China launches its first unmanned cargo spacecraft

    China has launched it’s first unmanned cargo spacecraft on a mission to dock with the country’s space station, marking further progress in the ambitious Chinese space program.

    The Tianzhou 1 blasted off at 7.41pm Thursday atop a latest-generation Long March 7 rocket from China’s newest spacecraft launch site, Wenchang, on the island province of Hainan.

    Minutes later, as the spacecraft cleared the atmosphere, the mission was declared a success by administrators at ground control on the outskirts of Beijing.

    It is programmed to conduct scientific experiments after reaching the now-crew-less Tiangong 2, China’s second space station.

    A pair of Chinese astronauts spent 30 days on board the station last year.

    China launched the Tiangong 2 precursor facility in September and the station’s 20-tonne core module will be launched next year.

    Communications with the earlier, disused Tiangong 1 experimental station were cut last year and it is expected to burn up on entering the atmosphere.

    China was excluded from the 420-tonne International Space Station mainly due to US legislation barring such co-operation and concerns over the Chinese space program’s strong military connections.

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