Tianzhou-1 completes its first in-orbit refueling test
China’s first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 on Thursday completed its first on-orbit refueling test five days after successfully docking with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab.
Zhang Youxia, chief commander of the mission, said the refueling test was successful. The CPC Central Committee, the State Council and Central Military Commission expressed congratulations to the researchers and staff involved in the mission.
Tianzhou-1 blasted off aboard a Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province last Thursday.
Over two months, the spacecraft is scheduled to make a total three rendezvous and dockings with Tiangong-2, each time testing tricky refueling procedures.
The Tianzhou-1 mission marks the completion of the second step of China's three-step strategy for its manned space program, and is key to its goal of establishing a space station by 2022.
Having completed its refueling tests, Tianzhou-1 will detach from Tiangong-2 and spend three months in solo flight testing other key technologies.
At the end of the mission later this year, it will then make an automatic destructive re-entry into the atmosphere.
Tianzhou-1 to complete first propellant refueling mission