Tianzhou 4 cargo launch to begin busy space station year for China

China plans to launch the Tianzhou 4 cargo resupply mission on Monday, May 9 at 17:56 UTC (13:56 EDT) to the Tiangong space station. The Tianzhou spacecraft will fly on a Chang Zheng 7 rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan, China, to an approximate 389.5 x 395 km orbit with an inclination of 41.58 degrees. The Tiangong space station is currently unoccupied, with the Shenzhou 13 mission undocking after its six-month stay on April 15. A new crew of three will follow Tianzhou 4 to the station in early June, with the final two module additions to the station planned for later this year. Tianzhou 4 In preparation for the mission, the Tianzhou 2 craft was undocked from the forward docking port of Tiangong’s single module, Tianhe, on March 27. The Tianzhou 3 cargo craft then relocated to the forward port to open the aft port for Tianzhou 4. Tianzhou itself is derived from the Tiangong 1 space station, which was the first Chinese space station. The Tianzhou crafts feature a service module with flight control, propulsion, and steering, and a 15m³ cargo module for payload. It is equipped with two solar panels for power. At 17.9…

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Tianzhou 4 cargo launch to begin busy space station year for China

Updated: May 9, 2022 — 10:26 am