On April 29th, the Long March-5B/Y2 launch vehicle blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center at 11:23 a.m. (Beijing Time), sending the Core Module Tianhe of China Space Station into space. About 494 seconds later, Core Module Tianhe successfully separated from the rocket and entered the predetermined orbit, and the launch mission was a complete success. The successful launch marks the on-orbit construction of China's space station in full swing, laying a solid foundation for the follow-up demonstration of key technologies and the smooth implementation of assembly and construction stage of the China Space Station.
Core Module Tianhe is the first module of China's space station launched into orbit. It is mainly used for the integrated control and management of the whole space station. It has the capability of long-term autonomous flight, supporting astronauts to stay in space for a relatively long time, and carrying out space medicine and space science experiments, as well as technological tests. With a take-off mass of 22.5 metric tons, it is the largest and most complex spacecraft independently developed by China so far.
After that, several cargo spaceships Tianzhou and manned spaceships Shenzhou will dock to the Core Module Tianhe successively. Upon completing technology demonstration of regenerative life support, resupply in space, flexible solar array, space manipulator and other key technologies of space station, Laboratory Modules Wentian and Mengtian will rendezvous and dock with Core Module Tianhe, accomplishing the on-orbit assembly and construction of the three-module space station.
The Long March-5B/Y2 and Core Module Tianhe for today’s mission were developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) and the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). This is the 367th flight of the Long March family of launch vehicle.