China's Long March 6 (CZ-6) carrier rocket is set to be launched in Taiyuan, in North China's Shanxi Province on Saturday, sending 20 small satellites into space, media reported Thursday.
Designed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, developer of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, the CZ-6 is a non-toxic and pollution-free rocket which features a number of next-generation technologies, including a liquid oxygen kerosene engine.
The rocket was wholly developed in China at low cost, high reliability, strong adaptability and good safety, Chinese media reported.
The 20 satellites were developed by prestigious universities in China including Zhejiang University, Tsinghua University and other research institutes.
According to previous report, CZ-6 is capable of placing not less than 1 ton of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 700 kilometers.
Another rocket, the Long March 11 carrier rocket (CZ-11) is expected to be launched in Jiuquan, in Northwest China's Gansu Province on September 25, carrying three satellites.
The CZ-11 is the first solid launch vehicle designed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, and takes mere hours to launch in comparison to other rockets which usually take months to prepare.
China outlined its five-year space mission in 2011. Among the items outlined are the launch of manned spaceships, next-generation rockets and the use of cleaner fuel, all of which are expected to help the country realize its goal of building a space station by 2020.
Two more rockets, the Long March-5 and Long March-7, will be launched in 2016.
The former, under development by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, uses non-toxic and pollution-free propellant, and is capable of placing 25-ton payloads into near-Earth orbit, or placing 14-ton payloads into geostationary orbit.
The latter is capable of placing 5.5-ton payloads into orbit at the same altitude as CZ-6.