China is expected to launch a cargo ship into space around 2016 to serve the Tiangong-2 space laboratory, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday. The cargo ship, named “Tianzhou” or “Heavenly Vessel” in Chinese, will be delivered by the newly-developed Long March-7 carrier rocket and dock with Tiangong-2 automatically, Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space program, was quoted as saying in an interview. Cargo transportation system that supplies goods and propellants is a key technology China must master to build its own space station, said Zhou, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body. Tiangong-1, China’s first space lab and target orbiter, was sent to orbit on Sept. 29, 2011. China is expected to launch the Tiangong-2 space lab around 2015.
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