China developing new-generation manned rocket and spacecraft
The rocket will be used to fly around the moon in China's manned lunar missions. It will also help astronauts build a moon base with the Long March-9 carrier rocket in the future, said Wang Xiaojun, who is in charge of the rocket system of the Long March-7.
With a takeoff weight of 2,000 tonnes, the new rocket is expected to have carrying capabilities of 25 tonnes for lunar trajectories, 70 tonnes for low-Earth orbit.
Hot-fire tests of the rocket's engines have been conducted recently, said Wang.
The new manned spacecraft is nine meters long, with a maximum launch weight of 23 tonnes. It will have a re-entry module and a service module.
With low cost and high reliability, it will be a safe and livable spacecraft to be used in China's manned lunar missions and manned deep-space expeditions.
China launched its first manned mission in 2003, becoming the third country in the world to independently develop manned spacecraft after Russia and the U.S. ■