China says new rocket brings space station plans closer
BEIJING—China says its plans for a permanent space station remain on track with the successful launch of its new heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket.
The towering rocket that blasted off Thursday night from the Wenchang launch center on the southern island of Hainan will be used to launch the Tiangong 2 space station’s additional components and other massive payloads.
China launched the Tiangong 2 space station precursor facility in September and sent up two astronauts in the middle of last month to live aboard it for 30 days.
The Long March 5 is China’s largest rocket, capable of carrying 25 tons of payload into low-earth orbit and 14 tons to the more distant geostationary transfer orbit. That is more than twice the carrying capacity of China’s earlier Long March rockets.