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Breakthrough made in Long March carrier rocket
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The plant has a total investment of 4.5 billion yuan (657 million US dollars). The first phase of its construction will be completed at the end of next year.

The Long March rockets have carried out 107 missions since 1970. The first rocket of the Long March family was launched on April 24, 1970, sending China's first satellite Dongfanghong-1 into space.

Most recently, a Long March-3B rocket lifted a new telecommunications satellite, Zhongxing-9, into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern Sichuan Province on June 9.

Zhongxing-9, a satellite ordered by China Satcom from the France-based Thales Alenia Space, will be used for live television broadcast and put into use before the Beijing Olympic Games next month.

The next-generation rocket was also expected to contribute in the nation's space probe.

Zhang Bainan, chief designer of Shenzhou VII, said Tuesday that the research team that developed the spacecraft, China's third manned space launch, would start final testing after arriving at a northwestern satellite launch center in a few days.

China successfully put two manned spacecraft into orbit in 2003 and 2005. Shenzhou VII is expected to be launched in October this year.

(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2008)

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