Tianzhou 2 cargo ship docks with Tianhe core module, becoming first visiting spacecraft to station

By Zhao Lei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-05-30 06:44
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The simulation video of China Academy of Space Technology shows how the cargo ship docks with the core module.

Tianzhou 2, a robotic cargo ship launched on Saturday evening, docked with Tianhe — the recently deployed core module of the country's permanent space station — early on Sunday morning, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The cargo ship flew with a Long March 7 carrier rocket that blasted off at 8:55 pm at a coastal launchpad at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southernmost island province of Hainan.

After a 10-minute flight atop the 53-meter rocket, the craft entered a low-Earth orbit, unfolded its solar panels and then began to execute the rapid autonomous rendezvous and docking procedures that lasted about eight hours, the agency said in a statement.

Tianzhou 2 successfully docked with Tianhe's rear hatch at 5:01 am. Next, it is programmed to conduct autonomous refueling operations and carry out some tests on equipment, according to the statement.

When astronauts from the Shenzhou XII spacecraft board on Tianhe, they will move living materials and mission payloads from Tianzhou 2 to the core module.

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