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Hainan May Be Launch Pad for New Generation of Carrier Rockets

China may choose its southern province of Hainan as the site of a new launch pad for a new generation of carrier rockets, said Liu Zhusheng, chief designer of China's carrier rocket system, Saturday.

The planned rockets have a designed launch capacity of between 1.2 and 25 tons in low earth orbit, and 1.8 to 14 tons in geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), said Liu on the fourth day since the launch of China's second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI.

Boasts advantageous geographical conditions, higher launching efficiency and convenient sea transportation, the province, encircled by the South China Sea, has been considered an ideal site for a launch pad by some experts.

Shenzhou VI blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China atop a Long March II F carrier rocket, carrying two astronauts into space.

Developed by China on its own, the "Long March" series carrier rockets fall into four series with 12 models. They are China's major carrier rockets in its space flight program.

With a payload capacity of 12 tons for the launch into the low earth orbit and 5.2 tons for the launch into the GTO, the "Long March" carrier rockets can launch satellites into any desired orbits, with the precision orbiting reaching advanced levels in the world, experts said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2005)

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