China Launches Its First Space Cargo Ship Into Orbit

China’s bid to establish a permanently crewed space station got a boost today (April 20) with the launch of the country’s first cargo supply spacecraft: the Tianzhou-1. The uncrewed Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft launched into orbit atop a Long March 7 Y2 booster from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in the southern island province of Hainan. Liftoff occurred at 7:41 p.m. local time (7:41 a.m. EDT/1141 GMT) at the spaceport. Space program officials in China declared mission success shortly after the rocket launched and the vehicle deployed its solar panels. Tianzhou-1 is now on track 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 crewed spaceflight. That crewed mission, called Shenzhou-11,lasted 33 days.”

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