China’s first cargo spacecraft docked successfully with the Tiangong-2 space lab on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency reported, marking a major step toward Beijing’s goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022. President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China’s space program to strengthen national security. The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply spacecraft made the automated docking process with the orbiting space lab after it had taken off on Thursday evening from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan. The cargo spacecraft mission provides an “important technological basis” to build a Chinese space station, state media have said. It can reportedly carry 6 tonnes of goods, 2 tonnes of fuel and can fly unmanned for three months. Accord to Reuters, despite the advances in China’s space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes, China still lags behind the United States and Russia.
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