State media reported that “all systems are operating normally.” One of the images shows the rover after landing on the red planet, and the other shows the separation of “Zorong” and the spacecraft, according to the space program.
Just a few hours ago, a “Long March 4B” rocket launched from the Jiuquan Space Station in the Gobi Desert and brought a satellite into space to observe the ocean. Meanwhile, preparations for the imminent launch of the cargo flight to the main unit of the future Chinese space station were underway at the other Wenchang space station on the island of Hainan in southern China.
According to US experts, the “Long March 7” missile should start Wednesday at 7:30 pm CEST (1.30 am local time Thursday). The date is not officially confirmed. But police have already imposed restrictions on traffic around the spaceport, which is usually an indication of the onset.
“Tianzhou 2” (Heavenly Ship) is supposed to bring supplies and fuel to the “Tianhe” (Celestial Harmony) space unit, which launched on April 29th. Cargomission is the second of a total of eleven flights that China plans to build a “Tiangong” (Sky Palace) space station by the end of 2022.
A spaceship of 10.5 meters long and 3.35 meters wide can carry 6.5 tons. It should stick to the base unit and automatically load its charge. In preparation for the trip of the three astronauts aboard the “Shenzhou 12” in June. They are supposed to stay on the “Tianhe” for three months.
Time-limited flight program
The flight program is timed: Another resupply flight is scheduled to begin in September, and three more astronauts will follow in October. In order to finish building the space station, two more lab units, each weighing a good 20 tons each, will be brought into space next year, and will be attached to the base T-unit.
Two cargo flights and two manned missions are also planned for 2022. If the International Space Station (ISS) stops serving as planned in the next few years, China will be the only country that still operates a permanent outpost in space.
China only landed on Mars on Saturday for the first time. Also, the orbital “Tianwen 1” has been successfully put into orbit, enabling it to function as a relay station for contact with the Earth. So pictures can be sent. After landing, the rover first recorded its surroundings “as planned,” according to the Chinese space program.
So far, only the United States has managed to deploy reconnaissance vehicles on the surface of Mars. The Soviet Union landed in the 1970s, but immediately lost contact with the probe. Landing on the Red Planet is extremely difficult. So far, only about half of the attempts have succeeded.
The China mission is one of three flights to Mars that took off last summer. The United Arab Emirates and the United States have also sent space ships. The “persevering” US rover landed in February and began operating.
The Chinese vehicle has landed in the Utopia Planetia area. The six-wheeled “Zorong”, named after the Chinese fire god, will conduct investigations for at least three months. State media reported a “new chapter” in China’s ambitious space program.