Rocket launch from sea planned as next chapter in China's space story

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Aiming for success

Jin Xin, deputy project manager of the Long March 11 project, said he is convinced that in the fiercely competitive market of commercial launches, a high rate of success and a prompt response to users' demands will be the ultimate determinants on whether clients are won or lost.

"So I often reiterate that it is crucial for us to fulfill clients' requirements as soon as possible and to make sure each and every mission a success," he said. "We are dedicated to ensuring the high quality and reliability of our products."

Song Yongsheng, a project coordinator at the launch vehicle academy, said the Long March 11 has proved to be reliable and is a recognized solution to clients' diverse needs. He attributed the model's success in the market to what he called "characteristics in its genes"-innovation, market orientation, pursuit of perfection, flexibility and ease of use.

Jin said engineers used innovative and optimized approaches when they developed equipment and software for the rocket.

"For instance, they adopted integrated, modular designs on the satellite-rocket joints and in flight-control software, extensively streamlining a number of procedures," he said.

Designers have begun to develop an upgraded variant of the Long March 11 called the Long March 11A, Jin said, adding that the new type will be wider and taller than its predecessor and will have greater thrust.

It will be able to send 1.5 tons of payload to a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km, nearly four times the Long March 11's capacity in that orbit, he said.

The new rocket will replace some old types in the Long March series that rely on poisonous propellants, he added.

Long March 11A's main propulsion-a 200-ton-thrust engine-made a successful trial run in March in Shaanxi province.

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