(Beijing) China has postponed the scheduled launch of rocket-carrying equipment for its future space station on Thursday for technical reasons, the official China New Agency said.
According to China New, the Chinese manned space flight agency did not provide details, saying only that a new launch date would be “set later”.
The take-off was to take place a few days after a Chinese rover landed on Mars.
Beijing has injected billions to catch up with two pioneers in its space program – Russia and the United States – with ambitious plans to orbit the Earth and land unmanned craft on the Moon and Mars.
China has also been heavily criticized by the United States and many experts for a potentially dangerous violation of space regulations, when a large component of a rocket recently fell back to Earth after launching the Chinese space station’s central module. .
As per the now deferred mission plan, the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship was to be flown on a 14-ton Long March 7 rocket, with essential equipment such as food and a suit on board.
The space station, called “Tiangong” (“Heavenly Palace”), would require about ten launches to complete its assembly in orbit.
The director of the Human Space Flight Engineering Bureau, Hao Chun, reported that the construction of the station has entered a “critical phase”.
The structure can remain in low Earth orbit for up to 15 years.
With the possible scrapping of the International Space Station after 2028, China may become the only human outpost in Earth’s orbit.
Although Chinese authorities have assured that they are ready for international cooperation at their station, the outline is unclear.
But the European Space Agency has already sent astronauts to China to be trained to work in Tiangong in anticipation of its completion.
On Saturday, China successfully landed its “Jhurong” rover on Mars, becoming the third country to successfully land a craft on the Red Planet.
The rover is expected to begin studying the geology of Mars soon. He hopes to spend three months taking photographs and collecting data on a huge lava field in the Northern Hemisphere.