Shenzhou-14 crew enters Tianzhou-5 cargo craft
The Shenzhou-14 crew entered the Tianzhou-5 cargo craft on Sunday, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), which also said China will launch the Tianzhou series every six months in the future.
The crew opened the hatch door of Tianzhou-5 at 2:18 pm (Beijing Time) and entered the cargo spaceship at 3:03 pm following preparation work, the CMSA said.
The Shenzhou-14 crew will carry out cargo transfers and other related work as planned.
China launched the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-5 on Saturday to deliver supplies for the country's space station, the construction of which is expected to be completed this year.
The cargo spaceship system is a key part of China's space station. After the space station forms a T-shape structure, the cargo ships will continue their tasks during the space station's operation, providing support for astronauts, space science experiments, and the operation of the space station.
From Tianzhou-6, the cargo series will have system upgrades, such as a relatively large improvement of the cargo cabin and a substantial increase in the cargo transport capacity of the sealed cabin, said Bai Mingsheng, chief designer of the Tianzhou cargo craft from the China Academy of Space Technology.
He noted that the supplies delivered to the space station will be able to support the astronauts for a longer time.
The launch site has also streamlined and optimized the pre-launch process of the Long March-7, the carrier rocket of the Tianzhou series.
Zhong Wen'an, chief engineer at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, said that it currently takes 27 days to test and launch a Long March-7 rocket, a decrease of 15 days from the first Long March-7 rocket launch.
The Long March-7 Y6 rocket, carrying Tianzhou-5, blasted off at 10:03 am (Beijing Time) from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southern island province of Hainan.
About two hours later, Tianzhou-5 conducted a fast automated rendezvous and docking at the rear docking port of the space station's core module Tianhe.