Chinese cargo spacecraft docks with orbital station

by Joseph K. Clark

The Chinese space agency says an automated spacecraft has docked with the country’s new space station carrying fuel and supplies for its future crew

BEIJING — An automated spacecraft docked with China’s new space station Sunday carrying fuel and supplies for its future crew, the Chinese space agency announced.


Tianzhou-2 spacecraft reached the Tianhe station eight hours after blasting off from Hainan, an island in the South China Sea, China Manned Space said. It carried space suits, living supplies and equipment, and fuel for the station.

Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, is the third and largest orbital station launched by China’s increasingly ambitious space program.

The station’s core module was launched on April 29. The space agency plans a total of 11 launches through the end of next year to deliver two more modules for the 70-ton station, supplies, and a three-member crew.

China was criticized for allowing part of the rocket that launched the Tianhe to fall uncontrolled to Earth. There was no indication about what would happen to the missile from Saturday’s launch.

Beijing doesn’t participate in the International Space Station, primarily due to U.S. objections. Washington is wary of the Chinese program’s secrecy and its military connections.

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