China announced a big advance in its space programme yesterday with the launch of its most advanced rocket and tests of a crew capsule for lunar and space station missions.
Long March 5B, a 53 metre, 849-tonne rocket, lit its main engines and climbed into space from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern island of Hainan.
“The maiden flight achieved full success, marking the first battle victory to operate a space station and heralding the new phase of our country’s manned space programme,” the China Manned Space office said.
The payload separated from the rocket eight minutes after lift-off and entered its “predetermined orbit”, the office said — signalling success.
The Long March 5B and cargo and crew vehicle are the cornerstone of