Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Tianzhou-1: China Releases Details of First Cargo Spacecraft's Refuelling Mission in April

China reveals details of first space cargo aircraft Tianzhou-1.

(Photo : YouTube) China reveals details of first space cargo aircraft Tianzhou-1.

China released more details of its upcoming Tianzhou-1 mission launch in April. The first cargo spacecraft is expected to dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab three times, sources said on Saturday.

The Tianzhou-1 will be launched from the Wenchang launch center and will board a Long March 7 rocket. As soon as it settles in orbit, it will have a solo space travel before docking with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab. Then, Tianzhou-1 will remain along the Tiangong-2 space lab for another two months to complete the second phase of China's manned space program, the Global Times reported.

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The spacecraft will dock with the Tiangong-2 three separate times, and during which, it will conduct refueling test procedures and supplying goods. The mission will also test a six-hour fast automated rendezvous and docking procedure.

After the mission has been completed, the Tianzhou-1 will be de-orbited and burn up in the atmosphere, while Tiangong-2 will continue to orbit and conduct experiments.

The details were divulged during China's annual parliamentary session in Beijing, which was attended by several officials involved in the space sector.

Tianzhou-1 arrived at Wenchang last month, while its carrier rocket Long March 7 is currently en route to Qinglan port on Hainan Island. It will be used to keep the China Space Station (CSS) fuelled and supply its astronauts.

The final phase of the mission, which is the construction of the CSS, will start next year. China is slated to launch the newly completed space station core module called the Tianhe-1

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