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China’s cargo spacecraft starts independent operation

Updated: Jun 21,2017 5:28 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — After flying with the Tiangong-2 space lab for about two months, China’s Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft on June 21 separated from the space lab and entered a stage of independent operation.

Controlled from Earth, Tianzhou-1 separated from Tiangong-2 at 9:47 am on June 21, remained 120 meters from the lab and then left to pursue its own course when conditions were deemed appropriate.

In this stage, Tianzhou-1 will orbit about 390 km above the Earth, conducting a variety of experiments.

It will also release a tiny satellite, CubeSat, and will carry out an automated fast-docking with Tiangong-2 and conduct the third refueling of the space lab.