Watch: China Launches Its Most Powerful Rocket in History, Prepares for Second Space Station
Over the weekend, China successfully launched Long March-7 rocket, the country's most powerful rocket in history. The Long March-7 launch is a part of a three new boosters that China will launch in preparation for its Tingaong-3 space station in 2020.
According to Xinhua Net, the Long March-7 is a medium-sized, two-stage rocket with ka carrying capacity of up to 13.5 tonnes to low-Earth orbit (LEO). The other two rockets is the Long March-6 and the Long March-5. The latter is expected to be launched in the second half of the year and will carry the core module for China's space station called the Chang'e-5.
"It was designed to collect aerodynamic and heat data for a re-entry capsule, to verify key technologies such as detachable thermal protection structure and lightweight metal materials manufacturing, and to carry out blackout telecommunication tests," China's space program said in a statement.
Daily Mail notes that China has launched its first manned mission in 2003 when it had to set up the Tiangong 1 experimenta space station. Tiangong 2, the country's second space station, is expected to be launced into space in September.
The said rocket was launched in the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Southern China, which lessened the use of rocket propelants, The Verge reports. Also, instead of powering the Long March-7 by highly toxic hypergolic propellants, it used a combination of koresene and liquid oxygen to make it more cost efficient and environment-friendly.
The said launch of Long March-7 is a breakthrough for China in space travel. China is expected to propel a full mission to Mars by 2020.
Xu Dazhe, director of China's National Space Administration, said, "The probe is expected to orbit the red planet, land and deploy a rover all in one mission, which is quite difficult to achieve."
Wu Weiren, the Chinese space agency's chief, said that China could have started its space exploration earlier but a strict national process should be followed.
"Finally the country has given its approval," said Wu. "We will orbit Mars, land and deploy a rover -- all in one mission."