China launched Tianzhou-I, the first cargo spacecraft domestically, from Wenchang Launch Center in Hainan Province at 19:41 on 20th April, 2017. Launched by Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket, Tianzhou-I will work in orbit for about half a year.
The Tianzhou-I cargo spacecraft is responsible for providing the Chinese Space Station or space laboratory with cargo and payload transportation, onboard storage, and act as the “dustbin” of space station to offload the waste material. Finally, it will controlled reenter into designated areas after the mission.
Key technologies such as propellent refueling in orbit, as well as independent and fast rendezvous and docking will be verified. Multiple scientific experiments will be carried out onboard Tianzhou-I.
As the final mission in space laboratory phase of China Manned Space Program, the Tianzhou-I cargo spacecraft mission marks the completion of the second phase in "Three-step Strategy". It will be crucial for China in achieving the final step of establishing Chinese Space Station around 2022.
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