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China's new generation carrier rocket blasts off

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

06-25-2016 20:25 BJT

Full coverage: Successful Launch of Long March-7 Rocket

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

 A Long March-7 carrier rocket lifts off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, south China

A Long March-7 carrier rocket lifts off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, south China's Hainan Province, June 25, 2016.

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.

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 Sunday afternoon.

The Long March-7 is a medium-sized, two-stage rocket that can carry up to 13.5 tonnes 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 environmental friendly and less expensive.

Saturday's launch is the first by the Wenchang site, and the 230th of China's Long March carrier rocket family.

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.

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