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Tianzhou 2 re-enters Earth's atmosphere, mostly burns up
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Apr 01, 2022


China's Tianzhou 2 cargo spaceship fell back to Earth on Thursday afternoon with most of its body burnt up during the reentry process, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The agency said in a statement the robotic craft started to enter the atmosphere around 6:40 pm under the ground control and the extreme heat caused by air friction dismantled and destroyed most of the ship. A few pieces of debris fell into secure areas in the southern Pacific Ocean.

The country's second cargo spaceship, Tianzhou 2 was launched on May 29 last year by a Long March 7 carrier rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. It was tasked with carrying 6.8 tons of supplies for the country's Tiangong space station, including 2 tons of propellant, more than 160 packages of supplies as well as two extravehicular suits for astronauts to perform spacewalks.

During its flight with Tiangong, Tianzhou 2 refueled the station and was involved with some in-orbit tests and scientific experiments.

It undocked with the station on Sunday to wait for ground controllers to manipulate it back to Earth.

Tianzhou 1, China's first cargo spacecraft, was launched at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province in April 2017. It carried out several docking and in-orbit refueling maneuvers with a Chinese space laboratory in low-Earth orbit from April to September that year, making China the third nation capable of in-orbit refueling after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Each Taizhou cargo spaceship has two parts-a cargo cabin and a propulsion section. Such vehicles are 10.6 meters long and 3.35 meters wide.

It has a liftoff weight of 13.5 metric tons and can transport up to 6.9 tons of supplies to the space station, according to designers at the China Academy of Space Technology.

Lei Jianyu, a chief structural engineer, said Tianzhou is the world's best space cargo ship when it comes to carrying capacity-before it, no cargo vehicle could transport as much as 6.9 tons of materials to space.

China's Shenzhou-13 taikonauts preparing for return in April
China's Shenzhou-13 astronauts are preparing for their return to Earth following the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft's recent separation from the country's space station, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The Shenzhou-13 crew members - Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu - are all in good condition, said the agency, adding that they plan to return to Earth in mid-April.

On Oct. 16, 2021, the Shenzhou-13 mission sent the three taikonauts to the Tiangong space station for a six-month stay - the longest-ever duration in the country's manned space program.

They have completed multiple tasks over the past few months, including two extravehicular activities, two live science lectures, and a number of sci-tech experiments and application projects.

Chinese astronauts also used manual teleoperation equipment for the first time, operating the cargo craft and the space station for rendezvous and docking.

The core module of China's space station is currently operating steadily.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Related Links
China National Space Agency
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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Shenzhou XIII astronauts prep for return
Beijing (XNA) Mar 30, 2022
Three astronauts stationed in China's Tiangong space station are preparing for their return trip in the middle of April, packing up personal items, experimental products and other materials, putting equipment into place and exercising to prepare their bodies for Earth's gravity. The astronauts, Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu, have to tidy up a large number of materials, including goods on the Tianzhou 3 cargo spacecraft, said Zhong Weiwei, an associate researcher at the China Astronaut R ... read more

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