A 14-ton Chinese missile carrying food, equipment and fuel was launched from the tropical island of Hainan in the south of the country.
Official media said that China launched, on Saturday, a cargo ship carrying supplies for its future space station, which has successfully docked at the station’s base unit after delays for technical reasons.
China News Agency reported that a 14-ton Long March 7 missile carrying food, equipment and fuel took off from the launch site in Wenchang on the southern tropical island of Hainan.
The agency said, citing the China Space Agency (CMSA), that the cargo ship successfully detached from the thrust and entered orbit and deployed its solar panels. The agency said, citing the Chinese Space Agency, that the docking of the station’s base unit took place at 9:01 pm (10:01 pm in Switzerland).
The space station called “Tiangong” (“Heavenly Palace”) will need about ten launches to complete its assembly into orbit. The work is supposed to start in 2022. Once complete, it should remain in LEO for 15 years. After the possible withdrawal from the International Space Station (ISS) after 2028, Tiangong could become the only human outpost in Earth’s orbit.
Violation of the rules of space
“We will transport the necessary support materials, spare parts and equipment first, then our staff,” CMSA director Hao Chun was quoted by the China New newspaper as saying. China will start preparing to send three astronauts into space.
Beijing has allocated billions of dollars to its space program in an attempt to catch up with the pioneers Russia and the United States, with ambitious plans in Earth orbit and the landing of an unmanned spacecraft on the moon and Mars. But China has come under heavy criticism from the United States and many experts for its potentially serious violation of space rules.
In fact, at the beginning of the month, a huge rocket segment was left to return to Earth after the central unit launched its space station. 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.
Earlier this month, China successfully landed its rover “Zhurong” on 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.