China delays newest rocket design to 2014

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008


China has confirmed that the newest generation of Long March rockets has been re-scheduled to enter use in 2014.

Liang Xiaohong, Vice President of China's Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, also confirmed that the Changzheng 5 design was built around pollution-free technologies.

The rocket has been under development since 2002, and was initially said to require only six years' research. However the new design, which will allow more than twice the payload of previous models, has seen a number of delays in funding and development.

Due to the large size of the new rockets, a new 200-hectare launch centre has been under construction at the existing Wenchang Satellite Launch Center since September.

Until then, China is relying on its older fleet of rockets to carry on its space program, consisting of more than ten launches scheduled for this year. This month a CA-3a rocket will take a Beidou navigation system into Medium Earth Orbit.