Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft re-enters atmosphere under control
Updated 14:28, 12-Sep-2023
The Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft at the China Space Station combination. /CFP
The Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft at the China Space Station combination. /CFP

The Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft at the China Space Station combination. /CFP

China's Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere in a controlled manner at 9:13 a.m. Tuesday, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMS).

Most of the spacecraft's components burned up during re-entry and a small amount of debris fell into the scheduled safe waters of the South Pacific, the CMS said.

The Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft separated from the orbiting space station combination at 4:46 p.m. on Monday (Beijing Time) and switched to independent flight after completing all assigned tasks.

Launched in November 2022, the ship carried supplies for the Shenzhou-15 manned mission to the China Space Station. The payload also included equipment for scientific research.

The Tianzhou-5 also separated from the space station on May 5 and re-docked 33 days later as a technical verification process.

According to the agency, many application projects carried into space by the Tianzhou-5 are progressing smoothly and have achieved fruitful results. Among them is the Macao Student Science Satellite 1, which was stowed in the cargo craft before being released into orbit on December 18, 2022. 

This satellite is operating stably in orbit, functioning as a space-based scientific practice platform for amateur radio enthusiasts in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and around the world. It has vigorously promoted the in-depth cooperation and exchanges between the Chinese mainland and Macao in space science popularization and education, the agency noted. 

The in-orbit test of space hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells is another experimental achievement onboard the Tianzhou-5, providing data and theoretical support for China's future manned lunar explorations. 

Other key payloads include the space high-energy particle detection equipment, which completed an extravehicular mission. 

At present, three batches of application projects have been carried by Tianzhou into space. The agency said future manned space missions will continue to open its cargo craft payloads to the public.

(With input from Xinhua)

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