Beijing: China’s new generation carrier rocket Long March-7 blasts off on Saturday. Earlier, China’s latest Long March rocket arrived on the launch pad on Wednesday morning on Hainan island three days before the scheduled maiden mission of both the rocket and the site.
This launch will be different from others carried out by China because the public will be able to view it in person for the first time. Eight designated viewing areas covering 40 hectares have been chosen around the ¬Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre, including public parks and a private hotel beach, and can ¬accommodate about 25,000 spectators.
China Central Television ¬(CCTV) revealed the launch window of the Long March 7 would be open until Wednesday if Saturday’s weather turned bad, which is not uncommon on tropical Hainan. CCTV said the 600-tonne rocket began the three-hour rail journey of several kilometres from the assembly complex to the launch site.
It will be carrying a test model of China’s next-generation manned spacecraft, together with several small satellites. The rocket’s future role will be to deliver supplies to China’s planned space station.
“The launch will open a new chapter in the history of Chinese space exploration,” a space scientist involved in the development of the new Long March rockets said.
“The blast of flames, rise of vapour, the chest-pounding noise and the trembling of the ground under people’s feet … it will be a life-changing experience for many people.”