China has successfully launched its largest carrier rocket into space as part of the country’s plan to become a major space power over the next 10 years. The Long March-5B was carrying a new-generation spacecraft, state broadcaster CCTV said. It took off at 6pm local time (10am GMT) on Tuesday at the Wenchang Space Launch Centre in the southern island province of Hainan. The China Manned Space Engineering Office confirmed it was the first mission carried out by the rocket, CCTV reported. The Long March -5B – with a length of about 53.7 meters and takeoff mass of about 849 tonnes – was also carrying an inflatable cargo return module. China said in March it was aiming to launch an experimental spacecraft without a crew as part of a broader spaceflight programme to shuttle astronauts to its future space station and for future manned space exploration. The launch was earlier scheduled for mid- to late April. China aims to complete a multi-module, inhabited space station around 2022. It became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket in 2003 after the former Soviet Union and the United States. China has since been racing to catch… Read full this story
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