China further demonstrates station resupply capabilities and TIANZHOU 1 freighter is set loose (Updated)

by | Sep 21, 2017 | China, Satellites, Seradata News, space station

Over the weekend of 16-17 September, the Chinese space station, TIANGONG 2, and its attached resupply craft, TIANZHOU 1, completed the third in a series of fuel – and oxidiser – transfers form the freighter to the space station. Following the final fuel transfer TIANZHOU 1 detached form the space station at 0815 GMT on 17 September.

Freeze frame of the TIANZHOU 1 freighter undocking form the TIANGONG 2 space station. Courtesy of CCTV

 

Following its mission attached to TIANGONG 2, TIANZHOU 1 will carry out a number of “independent trials” before its eventual planned re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. It has yet to be revealed when this re-entry will occur.

Although the TIANGONG 2 station will be remaining in orbit for now, it is not expected to receive anymore taikonauts. Instead the Chinese manned space programme will hold off until circa 2019 when the TIANHE module – first part of the planned Chinese Space Station (CSS) – is launched.

 

Updated (25/09/2017): After receiving commands the TIANZHOU 1 freighter re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 1000 GMT, 22 September, over the Pacific Ocean. The freighter was in-orbit for five months, the majority of this time it spent docked to the TIANGONG 2 space station.

 

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