A China-built rocket designed to transport spacecraft and astronauts to the country's proposed space station launched Saturday at 8 a.m. Eastern time from a launch pad on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, SpaceFlight Now reported Saturday.
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., the prime contractor on the Chinese space program, said the Long March 7 rocket took off to carry payloads into space, including the Yuanzheng 1A upper stage and a capsule for a new spacecraft designed to perform an atmospheric re-entry test, Stephen Clark writes.
Other payloads onboard the rocket include small satellites designed to test communications systems and methods to clean up space debris as well as an experiment that aims to study in-orbit satellite refuelling operations, according to the People's Daily newspaper.
CASC said the 53-meter-long rocket has a core stage and boosters equipped with six YF-100 engines that run on liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants and is designed to bring approximately 30,000 pounds of payloads into low Earth orbit, according to the report.
According to Xinhua news agency, the rocket reached the highest orbital point at approximately 244 miles and lowest point at 120 miles.