China launches first unmanned freighter in test flight


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China today successfully launched its first unmanned cargo freighter, Tianzhou-1.

After entering orbit, according to CCTV-Plus interviews with Chinese space officials, Tianzhou-1 is slated to conduct a first docking with Tiangong-2 in a few days. The two spacecraft will then have a two-month in-orbit flight to test the liquid-propellant refueling as well as the cargo spaceship’s control of the combined vehicles, CMSA officials said.

The two spacecraft will also fly separately for three months, during which time the cargo spaceship will complete its own space science experiments. Then the two will have the third docking to test the automatic fast-docking technology, a test to complete the docking within 6 hours.

This was also the second launch of their most powerful rocket, Long March 7, and the second launch from their new spaceport at Wenchang.

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