BEIJING, September 20. /TASS/. The Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft has successfully docked to the basic module of China’s space station, the China Central Television broadcaster announced on Monday.
"The Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft successfully docked to the Tianhe core module of China’s space station at 10:08 p.m. local time [5:08 p.m. Moscow time]," the broadcaster reported.
The Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft blasted off at 3:10 p.m. local time towards China’s space station on Monday. The resupply ship has delivered food, propellant, spacesuits for spacewalks and other materials for the crew of the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship scheduled to launch in October.
About the space station
In April, China orbited the core module of its national space station. Three crewmembers of the Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft worked aboard the national space station from June 17 to September 16. Over this period, the taikonauts (the name of spaceflight participants accepted in China) made two spacewalks to assemble equipment.
Overall, the assembly of all of the space station’s systems will require about twelve months and will be completed in 2022. The program envisages seven more launches to deliver another two Wentian and Mengtian laboratory modules, two cargo spaceships and three manned expeditions with taikonauts into orbit.
China’s space station will have a mass of over 90 tonnes and accommodate three astronauts and up to six people upon a crew change. The space station will have a service life of about ten years.
After the basic elements of the Chinese space station are formed, China will orbit the Xuntian autonomous module with an optical telescope. Its mirror will have a diameter of two meters. The module will be furnished with its own thrusters and is expected to dock to the space station intermittently for repairs, refueling and equipment maintenance.