China Joins the Kerosene Club with New Rocket Launch

Maiden Flight of China's Long March 6 Credit:  (Xinhua/Yan Yan)

Maiden Flight of China’s Long March 6
Credit: (Xinhua/Yan Yan)

Until late last week, China’s most impressive space achievements have been carried out with relatively primitive, hypergolic fueled launch vehicles. On Friday however, China marked the debut of the first of a new series of boosters which while still carrying the Long March designation, are designed to bring that nation’s boost capabilities on par with the U.S., Russia and Europe.

Powered by Kerosene/Liquid Oxygen, the new Long March 6, a small 1 ton booster, made a successful maiden flight, carrying China past a seemingly small, but critical technological threshold and opening the door for much more to come.

From the Xinua News Agency:

“TAIYUAN, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — China successfully launched a new model of carrier rocket, Long March-6, at 7:01 a.m. Sunday from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China’s Shanxi Province.

The rocket carried 20 micro-satellites into the space, which will be used for space tests.

The new rocket is fueled by liquid propellant made of liquid oxygen and kerosene. It is China’s first carrier rocket that uses fuel free of toxicity and pollution, said the source with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, which designed the rocket.”

Meanwhile, the Xinhua also reported that the much larger Long March 5 has been shipped to its launch site for the first in a series of tests which will lead up to a 2017 debut. Among its early assignments, the 25 ton to LEO, 14 ton to GTO booster will launch China’s Chang’e 5 Lunar sample return mission.



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