Launching tower of Long March rockets. (File photo: VCG)
XICHANG, March 10 (Xinhua) -- China has made significant progress in the development of the key technologies of the heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-9, which is expected to make its maiden flight around 2030.
The development of the heavy-lift rocket will greatly improve China's capacity of entering outer space. The Long March-9 rocket will support China's space industry development, utilization of space resources and deep space exploration, said experts from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
The rocket will have a core stage with a diameter of 9.5 meters. Its total length will be nearly 100 meters. The rocket will be able to carry payloads of 50 to 140 tonnes into low-Earth orbit, 15 to 50 tonnes into the lunar transfer orbit, and 12 to 44 tonnes into the Mars transfer orbit.
The carrying capacity of the Long March-9 will be five times that of the Long March-5, currently the largest carrier rocket of China.
The heavy-lift rocket is expected to help China realize manned lunar exploration, taking samples from Mars back to Earth, and other deep space explorations.