Tianzhou (spacecraft)

Last updated
Tianzhou-1 paper model.png
Country of origin China
Operator CNSA
Applications Tiangong-2 resupply
Spacecraft type Automated cargo spacecraft
Launch massUp to 13,500 kg (29,800 lb)
Payload capacityUp to 6,500 kg (14,300 lb)
Dimensions9 m × 3.35 m (29.5 ft × 11.0 ft)
Volume15 m3 (530 cu ft)
Related spacecraft
Derived from Tiangong-1

The Tianzhou (Chinese :天舟; pinyin :Tiān Zhōu; lit. : 'Heavenly Ship') is a Chinese automated cargo spacecraft developed from China's first prototype space station Tiangong-1 to resupply its future modular space station. It was first launched (Tianzhou 1) on the Long March 7 rocket from Wenchang on April 20, 2017 [1] and demonstrated autonomous propellant transfer (space refueling). [2] [3]


The first version of Tianzhou has a mass of 12,910 kg and can carry 6,500 kg of cargo.


Based on the Tiangong-1 space station, it is planned that the Tianzhou will function as the main automated cargo spacecraft for the Chinese space station. It will have pressurized, semi-pressurized and unpressurized cargo capabilities, and will be able to transport airtight cargo, large extravehicular payloads and experiment platforms. It was first launched on the new Long March 7 rocket from Wenchang on April 20, 2017. [2] [4]


The China Manned Space Engineering Office opened a consultation for the naming of the prospective cargo ship on April 25, 2011. By May 20, it had received more than 50,000 suggestions. [5] On July 8 Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut and deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences revealed that they had a short list of ten names. [6] On October 31, 2013, it was revealed that they spacecraft had been named Tianzhou (Chinese :天舟; pinyin :Tiān Zhōu; lit. : 'Heavenly Boat'), a combining the Chinese names of the Tiangong (Chinese :天宫; pinyin :Tiān Gōng) space stations and the Shenzhou (Chinese :神舟; pinyin :Shén Zhōu) spacecraft. They also stated that they would use the two letter identification TZ. [7]


No.SpacecraftS/NLaunch (UTC) Carrier
1 Tianzhou 1 Unknown20 April 2017 11:41 Long March 7 Wenchang LC-2 Tiangong-2 ForeApril 21, 2017 [8] 22nd September 2017 08:15 UTC22nd September 2017 (deorbit burn at 10:00 UTC)Maiden flight of the Tianzhou spacecraft. First Tianzhou flight to Tiangong-2.

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Tianzhou or Tian Zhou may refer to:

Tianzhou 1 Tianzhou 1 is a unmaned cargo spacecraft created by China.

Tianzhou 1 was the debut mission of the Tianzhou-class unmanned cargo spacecraft. It was developed as part of the manned space program of China. Tianzhou means "heavenly vessel" in Chinese. On 20 April 2017, Tianzhou 1 was launched by rocket Long March 7 at China Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site. It successfully docked with the Tiangong-2 space laboratory on 22 April 2017 at 12:16 (UTC+8). Tianzhou 1 was deorbited on 22 September 2017. It plunged into Earth's atmosphere and burned up after a set of braking maneuvers under ground control.

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