Author: Not available
Beijing Bulletin – Sunday 23rd April, 2017
In a bid to strengthen its national security, China has paced ahead in its space program.
On Saturday, the country’s official Xinhua news agency announced that its first cargo spacecraft docked successfully with the Tiangong-2 space lab.
Marking a major step towards Beijing’s goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022, the country paced ahead in President Xi Jinping plan of advancing China’s space programme.
The Xinhua report said that the Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft made the automated docking process with the orbiting space lab after it had taken off on Thursday evening from the Wenchang satellite launch centre in the southern island province of Hainan.
The Tiangong-2 space laboratory, also called the Heavenly Palace 2, was home to two astronauts for a month in October last year as part of China’s longest ever manned space mission.
State media said that the cargo spacecraft mission provides an “important technological basis” to build a Chinese space station.
It can reportedly carry six tonnes of goods, two tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months.
Despite the progress in its space program, that has so far been aimed at military, commercial and scientific purposes – the county’s space program still lags behind the United States and Russia.
In 2013, the country’s Jade Rabbit rover landed on the Moon as the country celebrated it with great fanfare, but it ran into severe technical difficulties soon after.