China launches cargo rocket loaded with space station supplies


Beijing (AP) — A rocket carrying supplies to China’s new space station exploded on Saturday from an island in the South China Sea.

The Chinese space agency announced that a Long March rocket carrying an automated Tianzhou-2 spacecraft took off from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island at 8:55 pm (1255 GMT). The agency said the spacecraft went into orbit after 10 minutes and the launch was considered a “total success.”

Earlier state media reports reported that Tianzhou-2 was transporting fuel and supplies. The station’s core module was launched into orbit on April 29.

China’s space agency plans to launch 11 launches by the end of next year, providing a 70-ton station, supplies, and two more modules for its three crew.

China launches some of the rockets that launched Tianhe Return to Earth without controlSince the launch on Saturday, there have been no instructions on what Beijing was planning to do with the rocket.

Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, is the third and largest orbital station launched by China’s increasingly ambitious space program.

Beijing has not participated in the International Space Station, mainly due to opposition from the United States. Washington is wary of the secrets of China’s program and its military ties.