China launches new large carrier rocket
China has successfully launched its most powerful rocket yet, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA). The heavy-lift Long March-5B blasted off on Tuesday evening from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, sending the trial version of China's new-generation manned spaceship and a cargo return capsule for test into orbit.
Developed from Long March-5, the new rocket is designed to lift modules for the new Tianhe Space Station into orbit, Ji Qiming, an assistant to the CMSA director, said at a press conference Tuesday evening。
The rocket launch is a major breakthrough in China's aerospace development and has fueled confidence in upcoming missions, said Ji。
The Tuesday mission will test key technologies of the new spaceship for upcoming manned missions, including its re-entry into the atmosphere, heat shielding and recovery.
More than 10 space science experiments will be conducted on the experimental spacecraft。
Ji revealed that China plans to complete its space station by around 2022 with 12 flight missions.
After the maiden flight of Long March-5B, more space station basic modules, including a core module and two experiment capsules, will be launched and then assembled in orbit。
So far, China's manned space program has completed 16 flight missions since 1999 when the Shenzhou-1 spacecraft was launched into space.
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