On Tuesday, May 5, China reportedly launches its largest carrier rocket that has a size of more than an Olympic swimming pool. China's new large carrier rocket Long March-5B made its maiden flight Tuesday, sending the trial version of China's new-generation manned spaceship and a cargo return capsule for test into space.
Yang Qing, designer of the spaceship with the China Academy of Space Technology told the Xinhua news agency that "the mission will test the key technologies of the new manned spaceship such as the control of its re-entry into the atmosphere, heat shielding and recovery technology".
Modified on the basis of Long March-5, the new large rocket has a total length of about 53.7 meters, which is as tall as an 18-floor building, and has a 5-meter-diameter core stage and four 3.35-meter-diameter boosters, as well as a 20.5-meter-long and 5.2-meter-diameter fairing.
The research team spent nearly 10 years developing the new rocket, making breakthroughs in a series of key technologies, said the rocket's chief designer Li Dong.
Not only that, but the said rocket can also lift nearly 25 tons of payload to low Earth orbit, which was one of the requirements to create the said space station.
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One of China's main space exploration ambitions has been to build its own space station as an alternative to the International Space Station, following the country's exclusion from the existing space station by the United States over security concerns.
This means it could outlive the ISS which may lose its funding from the White House as soon as 2024, the report said.
AFP with additional input from GVS News Desk.