Tianzhou-1 finishes its mission in the waters of Pacific

Chinese robotic cargo Tianzhou-1 finished its first in the history mission after undocking from Tiangong-1 space station followed by destructive reentry over Pacific Ocean.

Reentry of the vehicle was performed according to CNSA on last Friday, 22 September at 10:00 UTC after 155 days of the mission. Tianzhou-1 was launched to orbit on April 20, 2017 on the top of the Long March 7 rocket. Launch was performed from LC-2 launch site at Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan Province, China. Spacecraft docked to Tiangong-2 two days later and became first Chinese robotic cargo spacecraft which performed docking in space.

During its historic mission Tianzhou-1 performed two solo missions and three refuelings. First was finished already four days after docking on April 26, 2017. Second done on june 20, 2017, and was preceded by undocking and short solo mission, when Tianzhou-1 separated for distance of 5 km from Tiangong-2. After 5 hours 18 minutes, Tianzhou-1 docked to Tiangong-1 and performed second refueling. On June 21, 2017, Tianzhou-1 separated from station again and begun its second solo mission planned for 3 months. During this mission it stayed on 395 km orbit, 5 km below the Tiangong-2. It performed various scientific experiments and deployed Silky Road-1 Cubesat. On September 12, 2017 it returned to Tiangong docked again and performed last refueling, pumping last 250 kg of propellant in the morning hours on September 15, 2017. That marked also end of mission of Tianzhou-1 which finished with undocking on September 17, 2017 at 08:15 UTC. After reaching safe distance from station, vehicle performed burns to reduce speed and altitude and lowered gradually its orbit. In following hours it performed reentry and burned in atmosphere over pacific Ocean around 10:00 UTC.