In a few days from now, China China will launch its first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 into space and it has been confirmed that this will happen between April 20 and 24, according to the office of China’s manned space program.
The team responsible for the power system arrived at the launch centre in Wenchang, south China’s Hainan province on Thursday.
The team will prepare the Long March-7 carrier rocket that will carry Tianzhou-1 into space. The Long March-7 Y2 is a medium-sized rocket that can carry up to 13.5 tonnes to low-Earth orbit. It is able to carry cargo spacecraft and man-made satellites. It made its maiden flight in June 2016.
According to Liu Zhirang, head of the Sixth Research Institute of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the difficulty lies in refueling in space.
Tianzhou-1 is expected to dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab three times before falling back to earth, while the latter will remain in orbit and continue its work.
The Tianzhou-1 mission will complete the second phase of China’s manned space program and is a crucial step for China in establishing a space station around 2022.
Meanwhile, a spacecraft is a vehicle, or machine designed to fly in outer space. They are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, space colonization, planetary exploration, and transportation of humans and cargo.
On a sub-orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters space and then returns to the surface, without having gone into an orbit. For orbital spaceflights, spacecraft enter closed orbits around the Earth or around other celestial bodies. It is used for human spaceflight carry people on board as crew or passengers from start or on orbit (space stations) only, whereas those used for robotic space missions operate either autonomously or telerobotically. Robotic spacecraft used to support scientific research are space probes. Robotic spacecraft that remain in orbit around a planetary body are artificial satellites. – Wikipedia.