A Long March 7 (CZ-7) launch vehicle lifted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on Hainan Island, South West China at 1140 GMT on 20 April 2017.  The rocket was carrying the Tianzhou-1 unmanned freighter spacecraft into orbit.  The 13,000kg freighter, which is China’s equivalent of the Russian Progress, European ATV or Japanese HTV heavy cargo spacecraft, was flying on its first flight and was due to dock with China’;s second man-tended mini-space station, Tiangong-2.The Tianzhou- is designed to refuel the space station and carry food and cargo for astronauts when aboard the station.  In total 6,500kg of cargo and fuel can be carried.

Long March 7 launches China’s first space freighter. Courtesy: Xinhua with permission

Update on 24 April 2017: Tianzhou-1 was docked with the Tiangong-2 mini-space station in an automated docking procedure at 0416 GMT on 22 April 2017.

Tianzhou-1 approaches to dock with Tiangong-2 Courtesy: CCTV