Tianzhou-3 completes rendezvous, docking with China’s space station

Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft, the second “delivery man” to bring cargo to China’s space station and a prelude to the next group of Chinese taikonauts who are about to embark their six-months journey to space on the Shenzhou-13 mission, has conducted an ultra-fast yet smooth rendezvous and docking with the Tianhe core cabin on Monday evening, merely 6.5 hours after launch.

The record rendezvous and docking of Tianzhou-3 with the Tianhe core cabin was delivered at 10:08 pm on Monday, around 6.5 hours after lift-off via a Long March-7 Y4 carrier rocket from Wenchang Space Launch Center located in South China’s Hainan Province on Monday afternoon, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said in a statement sent to the Global Times.

Docked at the rear of the Tianhe core cabin, the cargo spacecraft is carrying among its payload daily supplies, propellants and a space suit for space walk for the upcoming Shenzhou-13 manned mission, forming a combo with the in-orbit Tianhe and Tianzhou-2, CMSA revealed.

As the fourth of 11 missions scheduled to build China’s three-module space station, Tianzhou-3 mission came shortly after the historic Shenzhou-12 mission in which three taikonauts spent a record 90 days in China’s space station core module and safely returned to Earth on Friday.

The Monday mission is tasked with delivering supplies, equipment and propellant to prepare Tianhe for the next three-taikonaut Shenzhou-13 mission in October for their six-month stay. It is the Tianzhou spacecraft series’ second supply delivery run to the orbiting Tianhe module following a first by the Tianzhou-2 mission launched on May 29.

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