China Develops New Heavy Space Launch Vehicle
BEIJING (Sputnik) - China is currently working on creating a heavy launch vehicle capable of carrying a 150-tonne spacecraft into low-earth orbit, China National Space Administration (CNSA) deputy head Wu Yanhua said on Monday.
"The heavy launch vehicle currently under development in China will be able to bring a 150-tonne spacecraft into low Earth orbit, equivalent to launching the entire Tiangong space station in one go", Wu was quoted as saying by the CCTV.
The rocket will also be capable of delivering spacecraft weighing up to 30 tons to the moon, meaning it can bring about four Chang'e 5 lunar exploration mission capsules, the CNSA official noted.
The new launch vehicle will play an important role in deep space exploration and in China's moon landing mission, Wu said. Currently, the rocket is at the stage of detailed design and solving key technical issues, according to the official.
China has been actively developing its national space programme in the recent years. On 29 April, the country began the construction of the multi-module Tiangong orbital station and successfully launched the Tianhe core module. The construction of the station is expected to be completed by 2022. The station can simultaneously accommodate three cosmonauts or six people during a crew change.