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Rockets aim for overseas market

Updated: 2015-04-15 07:13
By ZHAO LEI (China Daily)

Rockets aim for overseas market

A Long March-4C carrier rocket carrying the Yaogan XX remote-sensing satellite blasts off from the launch pad at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, Aug. 9, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]

China has brought its most advanced rockets to a Brazilian defense show, aiming to expand the South American market for its space vehicles, an industry insider said.

"This is the first time we have displayed the Long March 7 launch vehicle at a foreign exhibition," said Li Tongyu, head of aerospace products at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the nation's major rocket developer and a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

"The South American market is where we want to promote our commercial launch service, so we hope the appearance of our new-generation rockets can help attract new clients," he said.

The academy is exhibiting seven of its carrier rockets, including the cutting-edge Long March 5 and the most-often-used Long March 3B, at the four-day LAAD 2015 Defense and Security International Exhibition, which opened in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. The biennial exhibition is the largest defense product and technology show in South America.

"We have used our Long March rockets to launch satellites for Venezuela and Bolivia. We plan to use the exhibition to introduce the new-generation Long March 5 and Long March 7 to overseas satellite companies," Li said, noting that Chinese rockets are fully compatible with major satellite platforms in the international market.

Currently, the commercial launch market is dominated by the United States, Russia and France, he said.

China aims to have 10 percent of the international satellite market and 15 percent of the commercial launch sector by the end of the year, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

Li's academy is now preparing for an important ground test for the Long March 5, the heaviest and most technologically advanced member of China's rocket family, he said, adding that the rocket's first flight will take place next year.

The height of the Long March 5 is nearly 57 meters, and its diameter is 5 meters. Its launch weight can be as much as 800 metric tons. The rocket will have a maximum payload capacity of 25 tons to low Earth orbit and 14 tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit, roughly comparable to those of the Unites States' Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, such as the Delta IV and Atlas V.

The Long March 7, a medium-heavy rocket that will ferry the country's unmanned Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft around 2016, has finished a compatibility test at the newly built Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan province.

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