China launches first cargo spacecraft as part of space station goal

Long March-7 rocket and Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft are seen as they are transferred to a launching spot in Wenchang, Hainan province, China, April 17, 2017. China Daily/via REUTERS

China launched its first cargo spacecraft on Thursday, taking another step towards its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022.

President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China’s space program to strengthen national security.

The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft lifted off early evening on a Long March-7 Y2 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan.

State television broadcast the launch live.

The spacecraft is designed to dock with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, or “Heavenly Palace 2”, where two astronauts spent a month last October in China’s longest ever manned space mission.

The cargo spacecraft mission will provide an “important technological basis” for the construction of China’s space station, according to state media.

The spacecraft can carry 6 tonnes of goods, 2 tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months, state media said.

Despite the advances in its space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes, China still lags behind the United States and Russia.

In late 2013, China’s Jade Rabbit rover landed on the Moon to great national fanfare, but ran into severe technical difficulties.

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets in a crisis.

China insists it has only peaceful ambitions in space, but has tested anti-satellite missiles.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: Reuters “China launches first cargo spacecraft as part of space station goal”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


2 Comments on “China launches first cargo spacecraft as part of space station goal”

  1. Joseph says:

    Wow, Reuters never forget to emphasis ‘despite the advances in its space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes, China still lags behind the United States and Russia.’ But they always forget to emphasis that despite so many advances, NASA never actually made even one of those ‘advances’ without the involvement of Chinese scientists which were born and educated in Asia, either Mainland China, Taiwan and South East Asian countries, not in America. Ridiculously Hongkong never produce worthy scientist, only political ‘scientists’. That’s what HK university can produce with overpaying Alejandro Reyes.


  2. Steve says:

    This is China’s greatest leap forward into space battlefront…Mao’s great leap forward was an attempt to modernise China’s economy so that by 1988, China would have an economy that can rival America. Fortunately, it was Paramount leader Deng Xiao Peng, after Mao’s death that led his country through far reaching market reform and now under China’s core leadership President Xi Jing Ping, the Chinese dream is soon to be realised, not only will china’s economy surpass the US, but the new battlefront of China’s space capabilities will soon rival that Scoundrel nation.


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