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|Wednesday, February 07, 2001, updated at 08:46(GMT+8)|
China Urged to Develop New Type Carrier RocketsA leading Chinese rocket expert said in Beijing Tuesday China should develop a new type of carrier rockets that are more reliable, more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
Long Yuehao, director of the Science and Technology Commission of the Chinese Academy of Carrier Rockets, said the proposed new rockets are expected to meet the need of domestic and overseas customers aiming to send large satellites and space stations into space in the next three decades and more.
Long, also commander-in-chief of the Chinese carrier rocket Long March III-a project, said the new rockets should have a design capacity ranging from 1.2 tons to 25 tons when moving in lower orbits, or 1.8 tons to 14 tons in higher orbits.
The rockets should also make better use of the existing Long March rocket-producing technology, and be compatible with the future, recoverable carrier vehicles, said Long.
The fuel for the rockets, he said, "must be non-poisonous and pollution-free."
Proposing Tuesday at a forum on China's space technology, Long said China "is capable of producing the first of such rockets in about six years on the basis of the technology available with necessary funding."
He told the one-day forum, which was organized by the Chinese Academy of Engineering in cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Space Technology, that the new rockets will help China meet critical challenges from the European, Japanese and American carrier rockets being developed.
The proposed rockets will help China narrow the gap between China and developed countries in carrier rocket-producing technology and reinforce China's position in this field.
He also proposed the construction of a new launch center on the island province of Hainan, the southernmost province of the country.
Located in hinterlands, China's existing three launch centers -- Xichang in Southwest China, Taiyuan in north China and Jiuquan in Northwest China -- have a number of constraints, he argued.
The centers, both for civil and military use, are undesirable in terms of safety in flight regions, difficult to access by larger carrier rockets if transported by rail, and sometimes make it difficult for the military to keep secrets when using the sites.
The high latitude of the three centers also cause the losses of some carrying power of the rockets, as they are located far north of Hainan, he said.
Long said his proposed center in Hainan will solve all these problems, and makes it easier for experts to find the touchdown points of carrier rockets as the center is located in coastal areas.
Among the 600 participants were Song Jian, president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, nearly 100 academicians of the academy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, nearly 100 officials from different ministries and commissions and about 100 senior engineering professionals.
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