Tianzhou 3
Tianzhou 1 model
A 1:144 scale Tianzhou 1 model
Mission typeTiangong space station resupply
COSPAR ID2021-085A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.49222
Mission duration309 days, 20 hours and 21 minutes
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeTianzhou
ManufacturerChina Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
Launch mass.
Dry mass6,640 kg (14,640 lb)
Dimensions10.6 m × 3.35 m (34.8 ft × 11.0 ft)
Space stationTiangong space station
Start of mission
Launch date20 September 2021, 07:10:11 UTC
RocketLong March 7
Launch siteWenchang Satellite Launch Center, LC-201
ContractorChina Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology
End of mission
Decay date27 July 2022, 03:31 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Docking with Tiangong space station
Docking portTianhe Aft port
Docking date20 September 2021, 14:08 UTC[1]
Undocking date19 April 2022, 21:02 UTC
Time docked211 days, 6 hours and 54 minutes
Docking with Tiangong space station
Docking portTianhe Forward port
Docking date20 April 2022, 01:06 UTC
Undocking date17 July 2022, 02:59 UTC[2]
Time docked88 days, 1 hour and 53 minutes

Tianzhou 3 (Chinese: ) was a mission of the Tianzhou-class uncrewed cargo spacecraft, launched on 20 September 2021, at 07:10:11 UTC.[1] Like previous Tianzhou missions, the spacecraft was launched from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan, China on a Long March 7 launch vehicle.

Tianzhou 3 was the second cargo resupply mission to the Tianhe core module (TCM) of the under-construction Tiangong space station, carrying over six tons of supplies. The spacecraft successfully docked at the TCM's aft port seven hours after launch at 14:08 UTC.

On 20 April 2022, Tianzhou 3 successfully relocated itself from Tianhe's aft port to the forward port to make the aft port available for docking by Tianzhou 4.[3] On 17 July it was undocked for deorbiting, making way for the installation of the Wentian module.[2] It reentered the Earth's atmosphere and burned up as planned on 27 July 2022.[4]


Main article: Tianzhou (spacecraft)

The Tianzhou cargo ship has several notable differences with the Tiangong stations from which it is derived. It has only three segments of solar panels (against 4 for Tiangong), but has 4 maneuvering engines (against 2).[5]


  1. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (20 September 2021). "Tianzhou-3 spacecraft docks with Chinese space station". SpaceNews. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (19 July 2022). "Tianzhou 3 cargo ship undocks from China's Tiangong space station". Space.com. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Tianzhou-3 docks with Tianhe's front docking port". Xinhua. 20 April 2022. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  4. ^ "China's Tianzhou-3 cargo craft re-enters atmosphere under control". Xinhua. 27 July 2022. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Tianzhou 3". Next Spaceflight. 20 September 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.