A March 7 long Y3 launcher carrying the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft launches from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site on May 29, 2021 in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China.

Yuan Chen | VCG | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – China has completed another large section of its own space station, the latest in a series of ambitious extraterrestrial projects from the world’s second largest economy.

The Long March 7 rocket with the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2 took off on Saturday at 8:55 p.m. local time from the launch site in Wenchang, according to the agency China Manned Space.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, Tianzhou-2 docked at the core module of the Tianhe space station.

China’s space station will consist of three modules, which will include the Tianhe core, cargo vehicles like Tianzhou-2, and laboratories. China will undertake eleven missions this year and next to complete the construction of the space station and also procure astronauts and supplies. The space station is scheduled to go into operation in 2022.

The docking of Tianzhou-2 has paved the way for China to bring astronauts to the space station. The cargo spacecraft carried astronaut supplies, including spacesuits and groceries. Shredded pork and kung pao chicken are among the foods being transported into space, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

China’s first self-developed space station will compete with the International Space Station, which is a cooperation between the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. China is not involved.

Beijing has put a lot of emphasis on ambitious space projects. Last year, China completed its global navigation system called Beidou, a rival to the US Global Positioning System (GPS).

After China launched its first major Mars mission last year, an unmanned Chinese spaceship landed successfully on the Red Planet.

However, the Asian giant was criticized this month when the rocket that carried the core module for its space station returned uncontrollably into the earth’s atmosphere and landed in the Indian Ocean.