China to build new carrier rocket series, launch centre

November 14th, 2007 - 8:09 am ICT by admin  
According to the China Daily, the Long March 5 carrier rockets will be made in the northern coastal city of Tianjin, while the launch centre will be set up in the southernmost province of Hainan.

The new launchers will be able to carry up to 25 tons to near-Earth orbits, up from the current nine tons; and 14 tons to geosynchronous orbits, up from five tons. The diameter will be increased to five meters from 3.35 meters, the daily reported.

They are designed to launch space stations or heavyweight satellites, as the current Long March 3-A rockets cannot handle this.

The decision comes a week after the launch of the first lunar orbiter.

“They are expected to meet the demands of space technology development and peaceful use of space for the next 30 to 50 years,” Wu Yansheng, president of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, said.

“It will also give China the same launch capabilities as developed countries,” Wu added.

Research and tests on key technologies of the new rockets have been completed, the academy said in a statement.

Insiders were quoted as saying that Tianjin was chosen because of its location. For, its proximity with the sea can facilitate the maritime transportation of the new rockets, as they are too big to be transported by rail to any of the current three launch centres in Gansu, Shanxi and Sichuan provinces - to Hainan.

The manufacturing base in Tianjin is expected to cost several billion yuan.

The Wenchang launch centre is expected to be ready by 2012, and may become functional by 2013. (ANI)

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