Rocket research stepped up

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, March 10, 2011
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China will finish carrying out test flights on its new generation of rockets by the end of 2015, as it steps up research that will assist its ambitious space programs, including a Mars probe.

China has already completed a series of rockets that can send different payloads into distant orbits, said Bao Weimin, director of the technology department of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

"It is predicted that by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan, the new generation of rockets still being researched will successfully finish test flights to form a new family of launch vehicles," Bao said, adding they would be non-toxic, non-polluting and carry more advanced control systems, China News Service reported.

After this project, Bao said China would conduct research on another generation of rockets that would allow the recycling of the top control section of the vessel.

China will this year use the Long March II-F rockets to launch the unmanned space module Tiangong-1 to dock with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, which will be launched two months after Tiangong-1, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"China will possibly modify the Long March II-F rocket to launch a Mars probe in 2013," Pang Zhihao, researcher and deputy editor-in-chief of Beijing-based Space International magazine said to the Global Times.

Pang added that the Long March V rockets will be propelled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to fulfill its non-pollution target. "China will use the Long March V rockets to launch a space station in 2016."

With a maximum low Earth-orbit payload capacity of 25 tons and high Earth-orbit payload capacity of 14 tons, Long March V rockets will catch up with the US Delta-4H rockets to reach top global levels, said Liang Xiaohong, deputy head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology to Xinhua earlier.

The world's largest design, production and testing base for rockets is currently being built in Tianjin, Liang said.

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