Propelled by six liquid oxygen-kerosene-fueled engines, the Long
March 12 will be able to transport a payload of 10,000 kg
(22,000 pounds) to a low-Earth orbit, according to the Shanghai
Academy of Spaceflight Technology, a subsidiary of China's main
That means the Long March 12 would be able to transport half a
dozen large communication satellites into orbit on one mission,
putting it almost in the same category as the heaviest variant
of the Long March 3, which is used to launch the satellites of
China's homegrown BeiDou navigation system.
A small-lift rocket carries payloads of up to 2,000 kg, while
medium ones deliver up to 20,000 kg and heavy rockets can carry
payloads in excess of 20,000 kg, capable of sending probes to
China has developed and launched more than 20 types of Long
March-series rockets - the pillar of the country's space
programs and responsible for over 500 launch missions since
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's main
space contractor, is expected to conduct a record 100 launch
missions in 2024. Chinese commercial companies are also expected
to step up launches this year.
The Long March 12's inaugural flight has been scheduled at the
Hainan International Commercial Aerospace Launch Center, a
spaceport expected to start operations in June, said Zeng Wenhua,
a structural designer at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight
The Long March 12 will be the first Chinese rocket with a
diameter of 3.8 meters - wider than the 3.35-metre diameter of
most Chinese rockets — and will have two stages. It will stand
over 60 meters tall (196 feet).
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Sharon Singleton)
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