00:36 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gansu province

    China Debuts New Commercial Rocket Series

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    China has officially debuted its latest generation of commercial launch vehicles - the Long rockets, which are "basically capable of meeting the requirements of the overwhelming majority of launch missions for domestic and foreign commercial satellites", said the developer on Sunday.

    The new Long rocket series comprises a cluster of solid-fueled rockets codenamed the Smart Dragon (SD) family, and a Tenglong liquid-propellant rocket.

    The SD rocket family is made up of the SD-1, -2, -3 launch vehicles. The SD rockets are capable of carrying payloads weighing between 200 kilograms and 1.5 tons to the Sun-synchronous orbit 500 kilometers above the ground, the developer, China Rocket in Beijing, told the Global Times via a statement on Sunday.

    The first model of the SD family, the SD-1, completed its maiden flight on August 17, whose carrying capability was 200 kilograms, and is expected to carry out 20 launch missions annually, said the statement.

    The SD-2 and SD-3, according to the developer, are scheduled to make their first flights in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The SD-2 has a carrying capability of more than 500 kilograms and the SD-3 can send a payload of more than 1.5 tons into space.

    Also, the Tenglong liquid rocket, which was unveiled to the public for the first time on Saturday and remains at a sophisticated assessment stage, is expected to be recyclable and to provide launch services for medium- to large-sized satellites and satellite constellations.

    In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a Long March-2D rocket carrying the world's first quantum satellite lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwestern China's Gansu Province, early Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016
    © AP Photo / Jin Liwang
    In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a Long March-2D rocket carrying the world's first quantum satellite lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwestern China's Gansu Province, early Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016

    China Rocket revealed that the Tenglong rocket will make its maiden flight in around 2021, and the company is striving to control the launch cost for each kilogram of payload to within $5,000.

    The Long series is designed to meet the increasing market demand for sending commercial payloads into orbit both at home and abroad, said Tang Yagang, the CEO of China Rocket, in the Sunday statement.

    China Rocket also said it will raise 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) from the public in a staged manner, using the money for innovation and capability building in the fields of research of commercial rockets and the development of reusable launch vehicles, directing the capital power in the country for a precision investment in the space high-tech area, and cultivating greater core strength for the country's space sector.

    This article was originally published in the newspaper Global Times.

    Tags:
    Rockets, commercial spaceflight, China
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