China launched a space truck into orbit

The China National Space Administration launched the Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft. It delivered to China’s Tiangong orbital station everything needed for the astronauts of the Shenzhou-14 manned mission, which launches to Tiangong in early June.

The Changcheng-7 launch vehicle was used to put the Tianzhou-4 into orbit. It launched Tuesday at 01:56 Beijing time (8:56 p.m. Monday, Moscow time) from the Wenchang launch site, which is on the northeast coast of Hainan Island. The rendezvous and docking of the space truck and the orbital station took place at 08:54 Tuesday Beijing time (03:54 Moscow time).

The Tianzhou-4 has a starting mass of 13.5 tons. This cargo ship can carry up to 6.9 tons of cargo — food, clothing and research equipment — into orbit.

The Chinese station is at an altitude of about 400 km and will last more than 10 years, and is designed to carry three people. The T-shaped complex, which has three docking units and an airlock to enter space, has a mass of 66 tons and a compartment volume of up to 110 cubic meters. The orbital object will start working this year, and from the next year it will be available for international projects.

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