The new rocket was launched on Thursday and could be involved in China's future mission to Mars.
The race to be the superpower in space went up another level when China launched its Long March rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on Thursday.
The the new generation of China’s heavy-lift carrier rocket is set to be their main carrier for China’s space stations and other deep space travel including their plans for Mars. It’s currently the largest rocket ever to be produced in China measuring in at 187 feet and is integral to China’s plans to grow their space program in order to become a heavy-weight in space exploration and research.
“Its successful launch has propelled China to the forefront of the world in terms of rocket carrying capacity, and marks a milestone in China’s transition from a major player in space to a major power in space,” the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee and the Central Military Commission wrote in a letter, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
This comes after the launch of Tiangong 2 – China’s space station – which is set to be the only working space station after the ISS shut down after completing its mission in 2024.
The Long March 5 is much more impressive than its predecessor, Long March 7. Its specifications are more than double the carrying power with the ability to carry up to 25 tons of payload in low-Earth orbit. It’s also much more environmentally friendly which could possibly indicate China’s commitment and thought into the environmental impact they have during space travel.
But it may not be too long before they have a close competitor – SpaceX is working on the Falcon Heavy which is set to be able to carry twice as much as the Long March 5. Although China has hinted at producing a new rocket that can carry up to 100 tons.
It seems the space race is on.