Beijing: China is building world`s largest design, production and testing base for rockets for the country`s rapidly expanding space programme, as it plans a probe to Mars in 2017.
The facility is being built in north China`s Tianjin Municipality and due to be completed within the year, Liang Xiaohong, deputy head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology told state-run Xinhua news agency today.
New space vehicles, including Long March IV, the Chinese rocket used in series of space missions, including two lunar missions will be designed and manufactured in the
200-hectare base, he said.
Parts for the rockets will be designed, manufactured, assembled and tested at the base, Liang said.
Twenty of the 22 plants have been completed, and some of them are ready for operation. The base is designed to meet China`s growing demand in space technology research and development for the next 30 to 50 years, he added.
By integrating the industrial chain, the base will be able to produce a whole spectrum of rockets of different sizes and types for China`s Moon probe project, space station and other projects, he said.
Research and development of China`s new generation of carrier rockets, Long March V, were going according to plan, and expected to catch up with the U.S. Delta-4H rockets in payload capacity, Liang said.
With a maximum low Earth-orbit payload capacity of 25 tonnes and high Earth-orbit payload capacity of 14 tonnes, Long March V rockets would reach the top level in payload capacity and reliability, he said.
Long March V rockets are designed for missions following the country`s manned space program and lunar exploration programme.
When put into service, "The Long March V would be able to satisfy China`s need in its space technology development and the peaceful use of space resources in the coming 30 to 50 years," Liang said.