Tianzhou 3 cargo spacecraft reenters atmosphere in a controlled manner

2022-07-27 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Tianzhou 3 cargo spacecraft destroyed itself during atmospheric reentry on Wednesday morning, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The agency said in a statement that under ground controllers' guidance, the robotic craft flew back into the atmosphere at 11:31 am. After that, most of the spaceship burned up, and a small amount of debris fell into secure areas in the South Pacific Ocean.

Launched on Sept 20 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, Tianzhou 3 docked with the Tiangong space station in a low-Earth orbit of around 400 kilometers later that day.

Carrying nearly 6 metric tons of propellants and materials, the cargo ship was tasked with supporting the Shenzhou XIII mission, during which a three-member crew stayed six months inside the Tiangong station from the mid-October to mid-April.

Tianzhou 3 was the second cargo ship to have linked with the Tiangong space station, following the Tianzhou 2.

After completing all its tasks, Tianzhou 3 departed from the Tiangong station on July 17 to leave its docking hatch to make way for the Wentian space lab, which was launched on Sunday and docked at the station the next day.

Currently, Tiangong consists of the Tianhe core module, the Wentian lab, the Tianzhou 4 and the Shenzhou XIV spacecraft. It is manned by the Shenzhou XIV mission crew who are scheduled to stay there until year's end.

The Tianzhou 4 was lifted in May, and the Tianzhou 5 is scheduled to be launched around the end of 2022.


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