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China launches new generation carrier rocket

Updated: Jun 26,2016 9:28 AM     Xinhua

A Long March-7 carrier rocket lifts off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, South China’s Hainan province, June 25, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

WENCHANG, Hainan — China on June 25 successfully blasted off its new generation carrier rocket Long March-7 from a new space launch center in Wenchang, Hainan province.

In a cloud of white smoke, the rocket, carrying a scaled-down version of “a reentry module of a multi-function spacecraft,” ascended against a the dark sky, trailing a vast column of flame.

Wang Hongyao, deputy chief commander of the mission, declared the launch a success minutes later.

A Long March-7 carrier rocket lifts off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, South China’s Hainan province, June 25, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

He said the rocket’s payload separated from the rocket 603 seconds after blast-off, and entered an oval orbit with a low point, or perigee, of 200 kilometers, and a high point, or apogee, of 394 kilometers.

The re-entry module is expected to return to Earth on the afternoon of June 26.

The Long March-7 is a medium-sized, two-stage rocket that can carry up to 13.5 tons to low-Earth orbit. Experts say it will become the main carrier for China’s future space missions.

Earlier reports said the rocket now uses kerosene and liquid oxygen as fuel, rather than the highly toxic propellant, making it more environmentally friendly and less expensive.

A Long March-7 carrier rocket lifts off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, South China’s Hainan province, June 25, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

The launch on June 25 is the first by the Wenchang site, and the 230th of China’s Long March carrier rocket family.

A Long March-7 carrier rocket lifts off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, South China’s Hainan province, June 25, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

Its mission is to verify the design and performance of the new carrier rocket, to evaluate mission execution capacity of the Wenchang launch site, and to check coordination and compatibility of project-related systems.

A Long March-7 carrier rocket lifts off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, South China’s Hainan province, June 25, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

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