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China debuts new carrier rocket

( Updated: 2016-07-26 10:27


China's new generation of carrier rocket -- The Long March-7 -- launched in Wenchang, Hainan province on Saturday night. Many believe it has really pushed forward the development of China's ambitious space program.

The highly anticipated debut of the Long March-7.

At 8pm on June 25th, China's new generation of carrier rocket blasted off from Wenchang, Hainan province.

A medium-sized rocket using liquid propellant, it can carry up to 13.5 tonnes to low Earth orbit. It will transport cargo for China's planned space station and is expected to become the main carrier for space launches.

"The successful launch of the Long March-7 is significant. It's a starting point of our mission as a whole. It will be followed by the launch of the Shenzhou-11, Tiangong-2 and Tianzhou spacecraft," said Li Jian, deputy director of Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

Over the past four decades, more than 200 Long March series rockets have been launched by China.

And more are expected to come. Another 150 China-made Long March rockets will take to the skies over the next five years, as more models are developed.

"The Beijing Aerospace control center has finished designing the whole mission and verifying the system. It's ready for the planned space station," Li said.

It has also been confirmed that China will send the country's most powerful carrier rocket, the Long March-5, on its maiden space trip this October. With a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to low Earth orbit, or 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit, the Long March-5 is scheduled to carry the Chang'e-5 lunar probe around 2017.

China is quickly catching up with other countries in human space endeavors. The Long March-7 carrier rocket's maiden space trip will significantly enhance its space transportation system and its ability to explore other possibilities far beyond the earth.

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