China’s first cargo spacecraft docked successfully with the Tiangong-2 space lab on Saturday, marking another milestone in the nation’s efforts to have a permanently manned space station by 2022, Reuters reports.
The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft docked with the orbiting space lab after taking off Thursday evening from a launch pad in Hainan province, the report said, citing Chinese state media.
The Tiangong-2 space laboratory, or “Heavenly Palace 2″, was home to two astronauts for a month last October in China’s longest ever manned space mission.
The cargo spacecraft mission provides an “important technological basis” to build a Chinese space station, state media have said.
It can reportedly carry 6 tons of goods, 2 tons of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months.
President Xi Jinping has prioritised advancing China’s space program to strengthen national security.
The US Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets in a crisis.
China insists it has only peaceful ambitions in space.
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