Tianzhou (spacecraft)


Country of originChina
ApplicationsTiangong-2 resupply
Spacecraft typeAutomated cargo spacecraft
Launch massUp to 13,500 kg (29,800 lb)
Payload capacityUp to 6,500 kg (14,300 lb)
Dimensions9 m × 3.35 m (29.5 ft × 11.0 ft)
Volume15 m3 (530 cu ft)
Related spacecraft
Derived fromTiangong-1

The Tianzhou (Chinese: 天舟; pinyin: Tiān Zhōu; lit. 'Heavenly Ship') is a Chinese automated cargo spacecraft developed from China's first prototype space station Tiangong-1 to resupply its future modular space station. It was first launched (Tianzhou 1) on the Long March 7 rocket from Wenchang on April 20, 2017[1] and demonstrated autonomous propellant transfer (space refueling).[2][3]

The first version of Tianzhou has a mass of 12,910 kg and can carry 6,500 kg of cargo.


Based on the Tiangong-1 space station, it is planned that the Tianzhou will function as the main automated cargo spacecraft for the Chinese space station. It will have pressurized, semi-pressurized and unpressurized cargo capabilities, and will be able to transport airtight cargo, large extravehicular payloads and experiment platforms. It was first launched on the new Long March 7 rocket from Wenchang on April 20, 2017.[2][4]


The China Manned Space Engineering Office opened a consultation for the naming of the prospective cargo ship on April 25, 2011. By May 20, it had received more than 50,000 suggestions.[5] On July 8 Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut and deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences revealed that they had a short list of ten names.[6] On October 31, 2013, it was revealed that they spacecraft had been named Tianzhou (Chinese: 天舟; pinyin: Tiān Zhōu; lit. 'Heavenly Boat'), a combining the Chinese names of the Tiangong (Chinese: 天宫; pinyin: Tiān Gōng) space stations and the Shenzhou (Chinese: 神舟; pinyin: Shén Zhōu) spacecraft. They also stated that they would use the two letter identification TZ.[7]


No. Spacecraft S/N Launch (UTC) Carrier
Docking (UTC) Deorbit (UTC) Remarks
Docking Undocking
1 Tianzhou 1 N/A 11:41, April 20, 2017 (UTC) (2017-04-20T11:41Z) Long March 7 Wenchang LC-2 Tiangong-2 Fore April 21, 2017 (UTC) (2017-04-21Z)[8] 08:15, September 22, 2017 (UTC) (2017-09-22T08:15Z) 10:00, September 22, 2017 (UTC) (2017-09-22T10:00Z) Maiden flight of the Tianzhou spacecraft. First Tianzhou flight to Tiangong-2. [8]
2 Tianzhou 2 N/A TBA Long March 7 Wenchang TBA TBA TBA TBA [9]

See also


  1. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (25 June 2016). "China successfully debuts Long March 7 rocket". NASASpaceflight.com.
  2. ^ a b Ping, Wu (June 2016). "China Manned Space Programme: Its Achievements and Future Developments" (PDF). China Manned Space Agency. Retrieved 2016-06-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Clark, Stephen (17 September 2017). "Chinese space station freighter concludes refueling demo mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 5 May 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (19 April 2017). "Tianzhou-1 – China launches and docks debut cargo resupply". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 5 May 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "中国货运飞船征名超5万个" [Chinese cargo ship over 50,000 new name] (in Chinese). China Network Television. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2016-06-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "中国货运飞船征名结束 龙舟等10个名字入选" [Chinese cargo ship sign name ends dragon boat 10 names selected] (in Chinese). 163.com. 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2016-06-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "中国载人空间站命名"天宫"货运飞船为"天舟"" [China's manned space station cargo spacecraft to be named Tianzhou] (in Chinese). China News. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2016-06-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b "China's Tianzhou 1 cargo carrier docks with space lab in orbit – Spaceflight Now".
  9. ^ Andrew Jones (13 April 2021). "China preparing Tianzhou-2 cargo mission to follow upcoming space station launch". SpaceNews.

External links