China completes another part of its own space station
A March-7 long Y3 rocket carrying the Tianzhou-2 cargo vessel takes off from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site on May 29, 2021 in Wenchang, Hainan province, China.
Yuan Chen | VCG | Getty Images
GUANGZHOU, China – China has completed another major part of its own space station, the latest in a series of ambitious extraterrestrial projects in the world’s second-largest economy.
The Long March 7 rocket carrying the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft lifted off at 8:55 p.m. local time from the Wenchang launch site on Saturday, according to the China Manned Space agency.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Tianzhou-2 docked with the central module of the space station called Tianhe.
The Chinese space station will be composed of three modules including the “core” of Tianhe, cargo spacecraft such as Tianzhou-2 and laboratories. China will carry out 11 missions this year and next to complete construction of the space station, and also bring in astronauts and supplies. The space station is expected to enter service in 2022.
The Tianzhou-2 docking paved the way for China to launch astronauts to the space station. The cargo spaceship carried astronaut supplies, including spacesuits and food. Grated pork and kung pao chicken are among the food items transported into space, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
The first space station developed by China will compete with the International Space Station, which is a cooperative effort between the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. China is not involved.
Beijing places a lot of emphasis on ambitious space projects. Last year, China completed its global navigation system called Beidou, a rival to the US government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).
After China launched its first major mission to Mars last year, an unmanned Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the red planet.