HONG KONG, June 24 (UPI) — China has completed development on a “super rocket” which could be used for the purposes of manned lunar exploration by 2031.
The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology stated on Saturday, local time, the new rocket can be used for manned lunar exploration, unmanned explorations of Mars, state-owned news agency Xinhua reported Saturday, local time.
“If all goes to plan, the first launch could be achieved within 15 years,” CALT said in its statement.
China is also preparing another launch that could take place as early as this Saturday, Space Flight Insider reported Friday.
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) June 24, 2016
The Long March-7 rocket, the latest among China’s fleet of launch vehicles, is to be sent into orbit from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, located on the tropical island of Hainan.
The Long March-7 measures 53.1 meters vertically and is a medium-lift two-stage launch vehicle also developed by CALT.
The new rocket can transport cargo for China’s planned space station, and is expected to serve as the main launcher for future missions, according to the report.
“During the launching process, we will also monitor all the environmental data to provide a reference for future rockets,” said Zhang Zhengping, an expert at CALT.
The Long March rocket launch scheduled for sometime this week will be viewed by as many as 25,000 spectators, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.
There are eight designated viewing areas including public parks and a private hotel beach.
The launch window is open until Wednesday in case of bad weather.
“The launch will open a new chapter in the history of Chinese space exploration,” a Chinese scientist said.