China’s first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 is scheduled for launch at 7:41 p.m. Thursday (7:41 am Thursday ET) from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China’s Hainan Province, the office of China’s manned space program said Wednesday.
The cargo spacecraft will be carried into orbit by a Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket, the office said.
Fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene, the medium-sized rocket is able to carry cargo spacecraft and man-made satellites. It made its maiden flight June 2016.
Tianzhou-1 is the first cargo ship independently developed by the country. It is expected to operate in orbit at an altitude of 380 kilometers before docking with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab, it said.
The cargo spacecraft will also carry out space experiments, including one on non-Newtonian gravitation, before falling back to earth.
The launch of Tianzhou-1 will mark a crucial step for China in building a space station by 2020.
Story by Xinhua News Agency.