Beijing, Nov 12 (EFE).- China’s Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft was successfully launched and docked with the Tiangong space station on Saturday, reported state news outlet Global Times.
The launch on a Long March-7 Y6 rocket took place at 10.03 am local time (02:03 GMT) from the Wenchang space base in the southern province of Hainan, and about two hours later it docked with the Tiangong space station, setting a new record, it said.
The Tianzhou-5, it added, citing the China Academy of Spacecraft Technology,is currently the cargo spacecraft in service with the most powerful transport capability in the world, and can carry out tasks such as sending supplies for the crew of the station, providing support to operations in orbit, and implementing fueling infrastructure.
The cargo spaceship on Saturday transported 5 tons of supplies to the space station, including food, medical items and cleaning products for the astronauts.
It also carried spare and maintenance parts for the station, 1,400 kilograms of reserve fuel, and various types of plant seeds to be used for growing experiments in space.
Tiangong, whose name means Heavenly Palace in Mandarin, will weigh about 70 tons and is expected to operate for about 15 years orbiting about 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.
By 2024, it could become the world’s only space station if the International Space Station, a United States-led initiative to which China is barred due to military ties to its space program, is withdrawn that year as planned.
In recent years, the Chinese space program has achieved successes such as landing the Chang’e 4 probe on the hidden side of the Moon – the first time it has been achieved – and reaching Mars for the first time, becoming the third country to do so after the US and the former Soviet Union. EFE