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Completed assembly of Long March-7 rocket expected in 2017

(People's Daily Online)    13:37, October 31, 2016

[File photo]

Another Long March-7 rocket is expected to be finished in January 2017. After the assembly of the new rocket is completed, it will be tasked with sending China's first space cargo ship Tianzhou-1 into space in the first half of next year.

“Components of the next Long March-7 are all set. The carrier rocket is now being assembled,” said Wang Xiaojun, chief commander of the successful launch of the first Long March-7. Wang told Chinanews.com that assembly will be completed in January 2017, and that the rocket can be utilized in February.

As China's first digitally designed rocket, the Long March-7 was designed and manufactured with 3-D technologies, putting China in the top tier of digital design capabilities. The rocket measures 53.1 meters in length, with a 3.35-meter core and four rocket boosters. Although it weighs hundreds of tons, the rocket's shell is incredibly thin.

The maiden launch of the Long March-7 rocket was successfully carried out in June, and the main payload for its debut was a scaled-down version of a next-generation crew vehicle. The vehicle was successfully recovered in Inner Mongolia after a short orbital flight.

“According to analysis and statistics from Long March-7’s first flight, the rocket has no flaws in its functionality. That creates a good foundation for its next mission,” Wang noted.

Long March-7 will play a critical role in realizing a Chinese space station, Chinanews.com reported.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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