China successfully launched a new model of carrier rocket, Long March-6, at 7:01 a.m. Sunday from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China’s Shanxi Province.
The rocket carried 20 micro-satellites into the space for space tests.
The new rocket, fueled by liquid propellant made of liquid oxygen and kerosene, is China’s first carrier rocket that uses fuel free of toxicity and pollution, said Gao Xinhui, an official at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
“Using such propellant can cut costs by a great margin,” he said.
Zhang Weidong, designer-in-chief at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said the new rocket also “reformed the way carrier rockets are tested and launched in China.”
“Loading, testing and positioning were finished when the Long March-6 rocket was at a horizontal position, before it was lifted to an upright position for launching,” he said.
“We believe it will greatly boost the competitiveness of Chinese carrier rockets in the international market. The new model will also significantly improve our abilitiy to access space,” said Zhang.
The launch on Sunday has tested the feasibility and accuracy of the rocket’s design as well as other new technologies.
The new carrier rocket will be mainly used for the launch of micro-satellites.
The rocket is the 210th mission by the Long March rocket family. In 1970, a Long March-1 rocket sent China’s first satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, or “the East is Red”, into Earth orbit. – Xinhua
China launches new carrier rocket with 20 satellites