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The competition heats up: The first of China’s new generation of rockets, Long March 7, is now on its way to its spaceport for its first launch next month.
The first flight of the 53-metre-tall Long March 7 will take place in late June, according to CASC’s Yang Baohua, and will test the design and performance indicators. The 600 tonne, 3.35m diameter rocket will carry a scaled-down version of a new Chinese re-entry capsule for human spaceflight, chief designer of China’s human space program Zhou Jianping revealed in March.
The article provides some good detailed information about China’s new rockets, noting that this rocket has been designed to launch manned and cargo spacecraft into orbit, making it the equivalent of Russia’s Soyuz rocket. The more powerful Long March 5, set for launch later this year when it will put China’s next space station prototype into orbit, will be their equivalent of Russia’s Proton. In both cases, however, they will be better than Russia’s rockets, more advanced and upgraded with greater capabilities.
The article also makes note of China’s new Wenchang spaceport on the coast, which took six years to build.