Tag Archives: Long March 7

China launches first Long March 7 rocket, recovers test capsule

The competition heats up: China successfully launched its first Long March 7 rocket on Saturday, the first launch also from its new Wencheng Spaceport.

According to this official Chinese report, the test capsule on the rocket also landed successfully and has been recovered.

Previously I had mistakenly reported that this launch would put into orbit China’s next test space station module. That launch is not until the fall.

China announces four day launch window for Long March 7’s first launch

The competition heats up: China has announced that the first launch of its new medium-sized rocket, Long March 7, will take place between June 25 and June 29.

The rocket will carry the country’s second space station test module, and will inaugerate use of China’s new Wenchang spaceport.

Long March 7 heads to spaceport

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.

China’s struggle to compete with SpaceX

This Aviation Week story provides a detailed update on China’s effort to build a new family of Long March rockets that are less expensive to operate and can effectively compete with SpaceX.

Two main take-aways from the article. First, the first flight of the Long March 7, a direct competitor with the Falcon 9, has been seriously delayed. Originally expected to fly in 2013, that first flight has apparently been pushed back to 2015.

Second, even with extensive cost savings, the Long March 7 will still cost a customer more than a Falcon 9, $70 million vs $61 million.