Tianzhou-1 atop Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket.
Credit: CGTN

Preparatory work for launch of China’s first cargo spacecraft launch – the Tianzhou-1 — continues.

Work is in the homestretch for a launch that is set between Thursday and next Monday.

On Feb. 13, the Tianzhou-1 was delivered to Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province.

On March 11, the Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket was transported to the center. The Tianzhou-1 will blast off on the Long March-7 Y2.

A week later, the vertical assembly of the Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket was finished.

A Chinese tracking ship, Yuanwang-7, set sail on April 10 for its first independent voyage into the Pacific Ocean to start its maritime space monitoring and communication mission for Tianzhou-1.

Credit: CMSA

In-orbit testing

Last Monday, the Tianzhou-1 was vertically transported to the launch tower in 2.5 hours.

If the supply ship is successfully orbited, it will dock with the Tiangong-2 space lab for three times to test in-orbit liquid propellant refueling.

The mission is viewed by China’s space planners as a crucial step toward China’s goal of establishing its own space station around 2022.

Wenchang visitors

In a related CCTV-Plus story, as final preparations move forward on the Tianzhou-1 liftoff, space enthusiasts and students are taking the opportunity to visit a nearby space science education center to learn more about the wonders of space exploration.

Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province.
Credit: CCTV

Located just a short walk from China’s newest and only coastal launch site, the Wenchang Space launch center, visitors to the education center can learn about the history of space flight, gaze at rocket components and model spacecraft, and even immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences to get a better understanding of China’s developing space program.

Theme park

The space education center is only part of a larger space theme park, with the park’s investors planning to build more facilities in the future to integrate tourism with academic exchanges and science education.

“In addition to this science center, we are going to introduce more high-tech experience facilities and provide better services for tourists. This space theme park will build on the experiences of the Houston Space Center in the U.S. and other space theme parks around the world,” said Wang Xiaojia, deputy manager of the Wenchang Tourism Investment Holding company, during the CCTV-Plus interview

The park is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

Space day

Meanwhile, China is also ready to celebrate its second Space Day.

According to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, China designated April 24 as the Space Day last year, when the country marked the anniversary of the country’s first satellite launch Dongfanghong-1 in 1970.

Dongfanghong-1 – China’s first satellite.
Courtesy: Sven Grahn

As reported by CCTV-Plus, the celebration activities will include talks by astronauts, an exhibition at the Northwestern Polytechnical University and other activities focusing on the applications of space technology in economic and social development, the Administration announced on Monday.

Aerospace facilities

The exhibition will show the achievements in China’s lunar probe and the BeiDou satellite navigation system. Some aerospace facilities, labs and workshops will be open to the public, especially to middle and primary school students on the day.

To be present at the main theater of the activities in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, northwest China, representatives from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, and foreign diplomats from a dozen countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Chile.

Xi’an is home to more than 200 aerospace research centers and enterprises.

There will be more than 200 events in other cities as well.

To view the CCTV-Plus videos, go to:

Tianzhou-1 Launch preparations:


Wenchang Education center:


China Space Day:


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