A Chinese cargo spacecraft docked with an orbiting space station on Tuesday, taking a step closer toward building China’s first space station later this year.
The unmanned spacecraft Tianzhou-4 docked with Tianhe, the core module of the space station, at 8:54am Beijing time (0054 GMT), China Manned Space Agency said on Tuesday.
The cargo spacecraft, which took off aboard a Long March-7 rocket, transported propellants, application experiments samples, some payloads and supplies for three astronauts, the agency said.
The rocket blasted off at 1:56am Beijing time (1756 GMT Monday) from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre in southern Hainan province.
Three astronauts will travel to Tianhe in June on the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft and live and work onboard the module for six months.
China aims to complete the construction of its first space station this year, being a key rival of the world’s only station – NASA’s International Space Station.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean OMeara