(CASC showcases China’s space exploration achievements at Airshow China 2016)
China's Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft has begun a three-month independent flight after detaching from the Tiangong II space laboratory on Wednesday morning, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
The undocking sequence started at 9:17 am and lasted about 30 minutes. Tianzhou 1 now operates in an orbit nearly 390 kilometers above the ground, the agency said in a news release on Wednesday.
It said the cargo craft will continue to carry out experiments and tests in space science and spaceflight technology during the solo flight. It will also place a miniature satellite into orbit. At the end of the independent flight, Tianzhou 1 will dock with Tiangong II for a third time and conduct a third in-orbit refueling operation for the space lab, the agency said, noting that the third docking maneuver will be executed with fast autonomous docking systems.