China postponed the scheduled launch of rocket-carrying equipment for its future space station on Thursday for technical reasons, the official China News Agency reported.
The Chinese Human Space Flight Agency did not give details, only saying that the new launch date “will be decided at a later time,” according to the China New newspaper.
This takeoff was to take place a few days after a Chinese spacecraft landed on the surface of Mars.
Beijing has poured billions into its space program to keep pace with the two pioneers – Russia and the United States – with ambitious plans for Earth orbit and landing unmanned vehicles on the Moon and Mars.
China has also come under fire from the United States and many experts for its potentially serious violation of space rules, when a large component of a rocket fell to the ground recently after the launch of the central unit of the Chinese space station.
According to the now-deferred mission plan, the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship was to take off on a 14-ton Long March 7 missile, with basic equipment such as food and suits.
The space station called “Tiangong” (“Heavenly Palace”) will need about ten launches to complete its assembly into orbit.
Hao Chun, director of the Human Space Flight Engineering Bureau, said the construction of the station had entered a “critical stage”.
The hull can remain in low Earth orbit for up to 15 years.
With the prospect of the International Space Station being canceled after 2028, China could become the only human focus in Earth’s orbit.
Although the Chinese authorities have confirmed that they are open to international cooperation at their station, their framework remains unclear.
But the European Space Agency (ESA) has already sent astronauts to China for job training in Tiangong in anticipation of its completion.
On Saturday, China succeeded in landing its rover “Zorong” on the surface of Mars, becoming the third country to successfully land a vehicle on the Red Planet.
The rover is expected to begin studying Mars geology soon. He is expected to spend three months taking pictures and gathering data on a vast lava plain in the northern hemisphere.
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