Beijing: A new generation Long March-7 carrier rocket of China was successfully blasted off on Saturday from Wenchang launch centre, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
According to reports, the 53-meter, 597-tonne, vertical-standing the Long March-7 rocket can carry high payloads for future space missions, including a space station which is expected to be ready by 2022.
About ten minutes later, its payload separated from the rocket and entered an oval orbit with a low point, or perigee, (the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the earth) of 200 kms and a high point, or apogee, of 394 kms.
The rocket blasted off at around 8.00 pm, trailing a vast column of flame, it said.
Wang Hongyao, Deputy Chief Commander of the mission, declared the launch a success. The re-entry module is expected to return to Earth tomorrow, the report said.
The rocket is a medium-sized and can carry up to 13.5 tonnes to low-Earth orbit.
Earlier reports said it will use a new liquid fuel that is environmental friendly and less expensive. It is expected to become the main carrier for China's space missions.
Its main role in the future will be to transport cargo ships to China's planned space stations as well as satellites and other spacecraft.
The Long March-7 mission was first launched from Wenchang, the fourth launch site in China. Among the other three, Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Dessert is currently China's only manned spacecraft launch centre, while Xichang in southwest China's Sichuan Province is mainly used to launch powerful-thrust rockets and geostationary satellites.
The third, Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi Province, is capable of launching satellites into both medium and low orbits.
Wenchang's location, being much closer to the equator than the other three, means it could considerably save fuel, the report said.
Chinese engineers said the Long March-7 rockets can hold up in gales of up to 20.7 meters per second, which is strong enough to make cars veer on the road and impede progress on foot.
The Wenchang site was completed in November 2014. It has a launchpad for the Long March-7 and another for the new generation heavy-lift Long March-5, which has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to low Earth orbit, or 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit.
(With Agency input)