A cargo capsule that was a part of a key check in China’s area programme skilled an “anomaly” Wednesday throughout its return journey, the area authority mentioned.
The cargo capsule was launched Tuesday aboard a brand new sort of service rocket together with a prototype spacecraft, and the latter is anticipated to return to Earth on Friday.
The launch is a significant check of China’s ambitions to operate a everlasting area station and ship astronauts to the Moon.
But “an anomaly occurred today during the return” of the cargo capsule, the China Manned Space Agency mentioned in an announcement.
“Experts are currently analysing the data,” it mentioned with out providing particulars.
The cargo capsule was not designed to move astronauts, solely gear. The system, developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, is an experimental prototype.
The capsule was fitted with an “inflatable” warmth protect. This sort of construction, additionally being examined by the American and European area companies, goals to ultimately exchange the traditional metallic warmth shields which might be heavier and thereby reduces the quantity of cargo that may be carried into area.
Tuesday’s launch was additionally the maiden flight of the Long March 5B rocket, thought-about essentially the most highly effective rocket made in China to this point. State media mentioned the launch was a “success”.
It comes after two earlier failures when the Long March 7A malfunctioned in March and the Long March 3B did not take off in early April.
Beijing has invested closely in its area programme in recent times because it performs catchup to the United States, the one nation to have despatched a person to the Moon.
Assembly of the Chinese Tiangong area station, whose title means Heavenly Palace, is expected to start this yr and end in 2022.
China additionally grew to become the primary nation to land on the far aspect of the Moon in January 2019, deploying a lunar rover that has pushed some 450 metres thus far.
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