Thursday, April 20, 2017

China’s ‘Heavenly Ship’ prepares for inaugural flight

Pics via Fuck Yeah Space Ships Tumblr Page.

China’s ‘Heavenly Ship’ prepares for inaugural flight, paving way for larger orbital station.

China’s space program is about to reach a new milestone Thursday (April 20) as the country prepares to launch the Tianzhou-1 spacecraft. Tianzhou-1 is China’s first space station cargo freighter and will be used to resupply the upcoming Chinese Space Station. Weighing over 13 tons, the mission will also be the heaviest payload China has ever sent into orbit.

Set for a five-month mission, Tianzhou-1 will perform the country’s first orbital logistics mission with the Tiangong-2 space laboratory. The space station testbed last saw occupants in September 2016 with the Shenzhou-11 crew.

The spacecraft will conduct three autonomous rendezvous with Tiangong-2 as well as the demonstration of the necessary logistics required to maintain an orbital outpost such as propellant transfer, orbit raising, and an expedited rendezvous to and from Earth.

Tianzhou vessels will be able to carry up to 14,330 pounds (6,500 kilograms) of cargo into orbit; for comparison, Russian Progress vehicles that resupply the International Space Station can carry up to 5,180 pounds (2,350 kilograms) of cargo, though it is a smaller vessel.
Bonus material from the same page...

Artist’s rendering of the Chinese Space Station which is scheduled to be fully assembled by the early 2020s.


China is drinking our milkshake.

Are we even keeping pace in the "new" space race or are they as far ahead of us as it appears?

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