Beijing, Mar. 5 (ANI): China is designing a new heavy-thrust carrier rocket that can send astronauts to the moon.
China Daily quoted Liang Xiaohong, vice-president of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, as saying that although there is no official timetable yet for China's moon landing, scientists are researching a new powerful carrier rocket with a lift-off thrust of 3,000 tons.
"The heavy thrust launcher's lift-off thrust will be three times that of the Long March-5, China's current largest launcher," said Liang.
The large-thrust Long March-5 launch vehicle has a lift-off thrust of 1,000 tons, which enables it to send a maximum payload of 25 tons to the near-Earth orbit and a payload of 10 tons to the higher geo-stationary orbit.
Compared to the Long March-5, the heavy-thrust launcher will be more powerful, but its payload capacity is still under discussion, Liang said.
China is currently studying the feasibility of a moon landing, despite US President Barack Obama's decision to kill NASA's 100-billion dollar plans to return astronauts to the moon.
Besides the heavy-thrust carrier rocket under study, the academy is also developing a new family of carrier rockets for future space programs.
"The Long March-6 will be a small-thrust carrier rocket, and the Long March-7 will be a medium-thrust launch vehicle. Together with the Long March-5, they will form a family that can cover all necessities for launch vehicles and replace the current carrier rockets," Liang said. (ANI)