China plans to launch its new generation carrier rocket Long March-8 Y2 between late February and early March from the southern island of Hainan, sources with the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the country's leading rocket maker, said on Friday.
The rocket arrived at the Wenchang Space Launch Center Friday after a week of ocean transport. It will undergo final assembly and testing at the launch site. The scheduled Long March-8 mission will be China's first rocket launch this year.
A two-stage medium-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-8 is 50.3 meters long, with a takeoff weight of 356 tonnes. It uses liquid propellants with a 5-tonne capacity for sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km.
Designed for both land and sea launches, the rocket made its maiden flight on Dec. 22, 2020, at the Wenchang coastal launch site.
The rocket has filled the gap in China's launch capability to the sun-synchronous orbit and satisfied the needs of high-density launch missions for medium and low-orbit spacecraft.