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Assembly of China's Heavy-lift Long March-5 Rocket Begins
   2016-04-26 07:50:20    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xie Cheng

A file photo of heavy-lift Long March-5 carrier rocket. [Photo: weibo.com]

China has started to assemble a new generation of the heavy-lift Long March-5 rocket, which is scheduled for launch later this year.

Using non-toxic and pollution-free propellant, the 60-meter-long rocket with a liftoff weight of over 800 tons will be equipped with 4 thrusters.

Yang Hujun, vice chief engineer, has spoken about the next steps for the Long March-5 project.

"After the assembly is finished in the first half of this year, it will take a little more than a month to test it to ensure that the product is in good shape. The first launch will be made after it is out of the plant in the latter half of the year. "

The new generation of rockets will come in 6 slightly different models - for manned space travel, as well as for the lunar and Martian exploration programs.

Among planned missions, is the Chang'e-5 lunar probe, which will be launched by the high-thrust carrier rocket to collect samples of moon soil by the end of 2017.

China also plans to launch a medium-sized rocket Long March-7 into low Earth orbit this year, in a bid to transport cargo for the planned space station.

The announcement coincided with China's first "Space Day" on April 24th, which marks the date in 1970 when China's first satellite, the "Dongfanghong-1" was put into orbit.

It also comes hard on the heels of China releasing details of a series of ambitious plans for space exploration in the coming years.

They include the country's Mars mission probe set to be launched around 2020, as well as the completion of China's space station in 2022.

For more on this, CRI's Liu Kun earlier spoke with Morris Jones, an Australian space analyst and writer.



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