WENCHANG, Hainan, March 12 (Xinhua) -- China launched its Long March-7A Y2 carrier rocket on Friday from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's island province of Hainan.
The rocket blasted off at 1:51 a.m. (Beijing Time) from the launch site, sending an experimental satellite into the planned orbit.
The satellite will be mainly used for in-orbit tests of new technologies including space environment monitoring.
A modified version of the Long March-7 rocket, the launch vehicle represents the new generation of China's medium-sized high-orbit rocket.
It has three stages and a total length of 60.1 meters, seven meters longer than the Long March-7, giving it a slim and tall appearance.
To reduce the risk of the slim rocket breaking off, scientists developed intelligent technologies to offer the rocket better control in the strong winds found at high altitudes, enabling it to find the optimal flight path after liftoff, said Shen Dan, chief designer of the Long March-7A development team from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
With a takeoff weight of 573 tonnes, the newly launched rocket has a greater carrying capacity than previous models. China's main carrier rockets in service have a geosynchronous transfer orbit capacity of 5.5 tonnes, while the Long March-7A is capable of sending a payload of at least 7 tonnes to high orbit.
The Long March-7A also uses environmentally friendly propellants made of liquid oxygen and kerosene. Its launch marks the upgrading of China's medium-sized launch vehicles, said Ma Zhonghui, deputy chief designer of the rocket.
This was the 362nd flight mission of the Long March rocket series. Enditem