Domestic News

Tianzhou-1 completes docking with space lab

CHINA’S Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft conducted its first docking with the country’s Tiangong II space laboratory Saturday afternoon.
The rendezvous and docking process started at 10:02 a.m. Saturday and was completed at 12:23 p.m., according to the China Manned Space Agency.
Next, the two spacecraft will stay for about two months in the orbit nearly 380 kilometers above the Earth. During the period, Tianzhou-1 will resupply fuel to Tiangong II and will conduct scientific experiments, the agency said.
After the two months, the cargo spacecraft will undock with the space lab and then carry out the second docking. Then it will undock again and start a three-month independent flight before the third docking. After the third docking, Tianzhou-1 will depart from Tiangong II and will be directed by ground control to fall back to the Earth.
Tianzhou-1, which is China’s largest and heaviest spacecraft, was lifted atop by a Long March 7 carrier rocket Thursday night at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Province.
Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, it is 10.6 meters long and has a diameter of 3.35 meters. Its maximum takeoff weight is 13.5 metric tons, enabling it to carry up to 6.5 tons of supplies.?