Beijing: China is definitely making waves with its space programs. After the successful launch of its 6th manned spaceflight mission - the Shenzhou-11 in October this year, China is all set to establish itself as one of the front-runners in the global space sphere.
Now, in what seems to be a huge step for China, the country on Thursday, successfully launched its most powerful heavy-lift rocket which is expected to be used in future space programmes like building a permanent space station and for Moon and Mars missions as the Communist giant seeks to become a major space power.
Long March-5, a newly developed rocket, was launched from the coastal Wenchang Space Launch Centre in southern Hainan Province. The rocket took off at around 8:43 PM local time.
The Long March-5 is a large, two-stage rocket with a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to low-Earth orbit, the largest of China’s carrier rockets. According to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the developer of Long March-5, the rocket uses two kinds of fuel, kerosene and liquid oxygen as well as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, rather than highly toxic propellant, making it more environment-friendly and less expensive.
China announced plans to send its Mars mission by 2020. China had also unveiled the designs of its Mars probe and rover in August this year. The rocket engine development and testing took place at a facility hidden in a valley to the south of Beijing.
(With PTI inputs)