(Yicai Global) Feb. 23 -- A Long March-5B Y2 heavy-lift rocket, one of the world’s most powerful rockets, arrived at its launch site in southern Hainan province yesterday as China gears up to send the key capsules of its first space station into orbit.
Once final assembly work and tests are completed, the Long March rocket will transport the station's core module into outer space from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, the China Manned Space Agency said. The launch is scheduled for the first half of this year.
The Tianhe core module is the largest object ever developed by China to enter space. At 16.6 meters long and with a diameter of 4.2 meters, it is big enough to accommodate three astronauts. It has a liftoff weight of 22.5 tons.
It will take 11 missions over the course of two years to construct the highly anticipated manned space station, which has a modular design and can be assembled in orbit, according to the China National Space Administration. Once completed, it will operate as a space laboratory to carry out scientific research and technical tests both inside and outside the capsule.
Preparations at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site are carrying on as scheduled, the CMSA said.
Editor: Kim Taylor