China’s Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft successfully reentered Earth’s atmosphere on September 12, 2023, completing its mission to resupply the Tiangong space station. The spacecraft carried over 6 tons of supplies, including food, water, fuel, and materials for scientific experiments. The re-entry was safe and controlled, with most of the spacecraft burning up in the atmosphere.
The Purpose of Tianzhou-5
On November 12, 2022, the Chinese resupply capsule Tianzhou-5 embarked on a nine-day space journey from the Wenchang Space Center, located in Hainan province. Its arrival at the Tiangong space station took place on November 21, 2022.
The capsule carried over 6 tons of supplies. These included essentials such as food and water, intended to support the astronauts of the Shenzhou-15 mission during their six-month stay on the station. In addition, the capsule carried fuel to power the station and maneuver itself.
In addition to basic supplies, Tianzhou-5 brought a series of materials for scientific experiments in various fields, including medicine, physics, and astronomy. Among the experiments on board were the “Macau Student Science Satellite 1”, a small satellite made by Macao students, and the “Space Fuel Cell”, a project aimed at studying the use of fuel cells in space.
Tianzhou-5’s Mission Accomplished
After spending 200 days connected to the Tiangong space station, on September 12, 2023, the capsule separated and began its reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. The reentry was managed safely and controlled, with most of the capsule disintegrating in the atmosphere.
The mission represents a significant milestone for the Chinese space program, having ensured that the Tiangong space station received the necessary supplies to support astronauts and conduct scientific experiments.