China is developing a new-generation manned rocket and spacecraft for its lunar exploration, said an expert at the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition Tuesday in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.
The rocket will be used to fly around the moon in China's manned lunar missions. It will also help astronauts build a moon base with the Long March-9 carrier rocket in the future, said Wang Xiaojun, who is in charge of the rocket system of the Long March-7.
With a takeoff weight of 2,000 tonnes, the new rocket is expected to have carrying capabilities of 25 tonnes for lunar trajectories, 70 tonnes for low-Earth orbit.
Hot-fire tests of the rocket's engines have been conducted recently, said Wang.
The new manned spacecraft is nine meters long, with a maximum launch weight of 23 tonnes. It will have a re-entry module and a service module.
With low cost and high reliability, it will be a safe and livable spacecraft to be used in China's manned lunar missions and manned deep-space expeditions.
China launched its first manned mission in 2003, becoming the third country in the world to independently develop manned spacecraft after Russia and the U.S.