Tianzhou 4's rocket arrives in Hainan

China Daily
Wang Xinjuan
2022-04-13 09:27:22

The Long March 7 carrier rocket tasked with launching the Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft arrived at Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on Monday, the China Manned Space Agency said.

Next, the rocket will be assembled and undergo ground tests with the robotic spaceship at the coastal launch complex, the agency said in a brief statement.

Tianzhou 4, the country's fourth cargo space vehicle, is set to dock with China's Tiangong space station that has been in low-Earth orbit about 400 kilometers above the ground since April 2021.

According to information previously published by the agency, the launch mission is scheduled to take place in the coming months.

Each Tianzhou cargo spaceship has two parts-a cargo cabin and a propulsion section. Such vehicles are 10.6 meters long and 3.35 meters wide.

It has a liftoff weight of 13.5 metric tons and can transport up to 6.9 tons of supplies to the space station, according to designers at the China Academy of Space Technology.

Last month, Tianzhou 2 fell back to Earth with most of its body burnt up during reentry, while Tianzhou 3 is still connected with the station.

Currently the Tiangong station is manned by the Shenzhou XIII crew who are scheduled to return to Earth very soon.

After the Tianzhou 4, the Shenzhou XIV mission crew will be transported to the Tiangong station and stay there for six months. Then the two space labs — Wentian, or Quest for the Heavens, and Mengtian, or Dreaming of the Heavens — will be launched to complete the station.

Around the end of this year, the Tianzhou 5 cargo ship and the Shenzhou XV crew will arrive at the station.

Upon its completion at the end of this year, Tiangong will consist of three main components — a core module attached to two space labs — and will have a combined weight of nearly 70 tons. The station is scheduled to operate for 15 years and will be open to foreign astronauts, the space agency said.

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