China’s First Space Station Supply “Tianzhou 1” Coming Up

Image credit & copyright: China News.

Launch Alert!

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:40 UTC (07:40 EDT) a Chinese Long March 7 (Y2) rocket will lift off from Launch Pad 201 at the Wenchang Space Center on Hainan Island to deliver the nation’s first cargo and refueling mission to the new Tiangong 2 space station. The Tianzhou 1 spacecraft can deliver upwards of 6,500 kg (14,330 lb.) into low Earth orbit (LEO).

The main goal of this mission is to test the transfer of liquid propellants from Tianzhou 1 “Heavenly Ship” to the 47 ft., 20 metric ton, Tiangong 2 “Heavenly Palace” mini space station in microgravity. This is a crucial step in meeting the goal of launching their Tianhe “Harmony of the Heavens” core module, currently slated for launch in 2018.  Two more modules; Experiment Module 1, named Wentian “Quest for the Heavens” and Experiment Module II, named Mengtian “Dreaming of the Heavens” will follow with completion of their 3rd generation Chinese Space Station “CSS” (also called the Chinese Large Modular Space Station) scheduled to be completed around 2025. This new space station also plans to have a separate space telescope named Xuntian “Heavenly Cruiser” with a two meter primary mirror.

Long March 7 (Chang Zheng 7, CZ-7 or Shenjian) Rocket:

China’s Long March 7 (CZ-7) rocket is a medium-lift vehicle and is a member of the Long March rocket family and is primarily. It is a two or three stage, four booster; launch vehicle that stands 53.1 m (174.2 ft.) high and is 3.35 m (10.9 ft.) in core diameter.  Liftoff mass for this vehicle is 594,000 kg (1,310,000 lb.) and can deliver a payload of up to 13,500 kg (29,800 lb.) into low Earth orbit (LEO) or 5,500 kg (12,100 lb.) into a Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

This will be the second flight of the Long March 7 vehicle with the first also being the inaugural launch from the new Wenchang Space Center on June 25, 2016. If you remember, debris from that flight reentered over the Western United States a month later, creating quite a sight.

CZ-7 Payload Fairings:

The CZ-7 payload fairing is a 4.2 m (13.9 ft.) diameter two-piece, shell that protects the spacecraft from the turbulence and air resistance during launch. Explosive bolts detonate to remove the fairing around T+211 seconds.

Yuan Zheng-1A (YZ-1A or “Expedition 1-A) Optional Upper Stage:

The YZ-1A upper stage is an optional 3rd stage for the CZ-7 that can act as a “space tug” that can deliver spacecraft to their intended orbits via direct injection vs the spacecraft needing to power itself into place. The YZ-1A is powered by a single YF-50D engine that provides 6.5 kN (1,500 lbf.) thrust at sea level and utilizes Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) fuel and Dinitrogen Tetroxide (N2O2) oxidizer. The inaugural flight used this stage successfully.

Second Stage:

The Long March 7 second stage is 3.35m (10.9 ft.) in diameter. It is powered by four parallel, single chamber YF-115 engines that provide 706 kM (159,000 lbf.) thrust at sea level and utilizes highly refined kerosene known as Rocket Propellant 1 (RP-1) for fuel and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) as oxidizer. Two of the four engines are fixed while the other two are dual-way swing nozzles for directional thrust.

Strap-On K2 Boosters:

The Long March 7 can use zero, two or four strap-on boosters, each 27 m (89 ft.) long and 2.25 m (7.5 ft.) in diameter. They are each powered by a single YF-100 engine that provides 1,200 kN (270,000 lbf.) thrust at sea level and utilizes highly refined kerosene known as Rocket Propellant 1 (RP-1) for fuel and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) as oxidizer.

First Stage (K3 Core Stage):

The Long March 7 core stage is 3.35 m (10.9 ft.) in diameter. It’s powered by two, single chamber YF-100 main engines that provide 2,400 kN (540,000 lbf.) thrust at sea level and utilizes highly refined kerosene known as Rocket Propellant 1 (RP-1) for fuel and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) as oxidizer.

Watch Live (some of these may work, some may not):

CCTV America:

CCTV Live (English):

CCTV Live (English) (same channel as above but different link):

CCTV America Live News:

CCTV America Facebook:

CCTV America YouTube:

CCTV YouTube:

CCTV+ YouTube:

Other Chinese Space Resources (possible live feeds):

Tianzhou-1 Mission:

China Space Report:

Long March 7:

China Space Report:

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