Tianzhou-1 prepares to test its capabilities and space experiments

Science and Tech

After a successful launch, the Tianzhou-1 now moves on to the next phase of its mission, testing its ability to transfer cargo and refuel the Tiangong-2 space station.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

Tianzhou-1 preparing to test it's capabilities and space experiments

Tianzhou-1 preparing to test it's capabilities and space experiments

Tianzhou-1 preparing to test it’s capabilities and space experiments Jim Spellman Jim Spellman@jimspellmanTV Published April 21, 2017 at 5:29 PM After a successful launch the Tianzhou-1 now moves on to the next phase of its mission, testing its ability to transfer cargo and refuel the Tiangong-2 space station.

It will dock with the unmanned space station and that’s expected to take about two days. Once docked liquid propellant will be transferred to the orbiting space station, testing the ability to refuel the space station.

The Tianzhou- 1 will then separate from the space station and orbit on its own before testing two more docking maneuvers including a rapid docking procedure that will help astronauts during future manned missions.

The ability of docking in a shorter amount of time will enable the astronauts to reach the space station faster and ensure swift transport of biological products to the station, as well as timely rescues amid emergencies,” Liu Zongyu, designer of Tianzhou-1 said.

Scientific experiments will also be conducted during the mission. Researchers will take advantage of the zero- gravity environment to test a new medicine designed to treat bone loss.

“It should be the first of its kind. We haven’t seen any coverage of such an experiment in foreign reports. Of course, it’s the first in China,” Chen Guoqiang, from the Center for Synthetic and Systems Biology at Tsinghua University said.

The treatment could help astronauts on long space missions, and may be used to treat osteoporosis patients on earth. Tianzhou-1’s mission will take several months. It will then deliberately burn up on re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere.

Future Tianzhou missions will be used to resupply China’s upcoming space station project which aims to be operational in the coming decade.