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Cargo spacecraft to launch in April

By Xinhua | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-14 07:42

China plans to launch its first cargo spacecraft via a Long March 7 Y2 carrier rocket in April, sources said on Monday.

The Tianzhou 1 cargo craft, which was transported from Tianjin on Feb 5, arrived at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on Monday for assembly and testing, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

Consisting of a cargo capsule and a propellent capsule, Tianzhou 1, the first cargo spacecraft independently developed by China, has a take off weight of about 13 metric tons, up to 6 tons of which can be payload. It can remain in space for as long as threemonths.

It will be capable of docking with the Tiangong II space lab and refueling it, in addition to carrying out experiments and tests.

The Long March 7 Y2 carrier rocket is scheduled to arrive at the launch center in March, the CMSA said.

The launch of Tianzhou 1 will be a crucial step for China in building a space station by 2020, since cargo spacecraft will be needed to supply astronauts aboard the station.

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