Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Thursday, Mar 8, 2018

China’s Long March rocket family ready for its busiest year

By Bai Yang  (People's Daily)    10:43, March 08, 2018

China is planning more launches of Long March rockets than ever in 2018 as the 36 missions on the agenda constitute the lion’s share of the country’s space program efforts.

The Long March-2F carrier rocket that was used to carry China's second space lab, Tiangong-2. (Photo from

The series will be tasked with missions including sending BeiDou satellites into space to form a network for the domestic BeiDou navigation satellite and launching the Chang'e-4 lunar probe, said Li Hong, director of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a subordinate of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

Of the 36 planned missions, 14 will be carried out by Long March-3A rockets and six by Long March-2C series, according to Li, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which opened its annual session on March 3 in Beijing.

The Long March-3A series, which is usually used to carry navigation and communications satellites, will launch 14 times this year, with 10 carrying BeiDou navigation and positioning satellites, Li said, adding that 8 of the 10 missions would put twin satellites into orbit.

The Long March-11 rocket, a solid propellant carrier developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a division of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), succeeded in sending six small satellites into orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China. (Photo by Xie Shangguo from People’s Daily Online)

According to the schedule, Long March-3A carriers need to send 18 BeiDou satellites into space by the end of 2018 so that the BeiDou system will be able to provide navigation and positioning services to countries along OBOR. The carrier is lined up for 40 launches from 2018 to 2020.

The Long March-8 series China is now developing is expected to have its maiden flight in 2020 as the work on its prototype has begun, the director said, elaborating that this new medium-lift carrier rocket is projected to fill China’s blank by increasing its payload capabilities for solar-synchronous orbit from 3 to 4.5 tons.

Launches of the Long March-5 series, with the strongest payload capability among Chinese carriers, have been scheduled for the latter half of this year in preparation for China's manned space, lunar probe and Mars probe missions.

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

Add your comment

Related reading

We Recommend

Most Read

Key Words