The landmark maiden voyage of China's large-thrust Long March-5 carrier rocket is expected to take place in 2014 as Chinese scientist completed major part of its production, a top official said on Saturday.
The Long March-5 rocket is scheduled to be put into service in 2014, said Liang Xiaohong, the deputy head of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) affiliated China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which designs and produces the rocket.
With a maximum low Earth-orbit payload capacity of 25 tonnes and high Earth-orbit payload capacity of 14 tonnes, Long March-5 rockets will be among the world's leader in payload capacity and reliability, Liang said, adding that the 25-tonne maximum capacity is 2.5 times that of in-service Long March rockets.
The production of a core cabin for China's manned space station and large satellites will also begin during the 2011-2015 period, said Ma Xingrui, general manager of CASC, which designs and manufactures major products for the country's space industry such as the Shenzhou manned spacecraft and the Long March rocket series.
China has embarked on an ambitious space programme which included creating a new satellite system to rival GPS, a second Moon mission to land a rover as a follow up to its successful lunar probe, Chang'e-II.
The programme suffered a setback on August 9 when its newly launched satellite failed to enter designated orbit due to a malfunction of the rocket.
It was the first time the Long March II-C rocket, regarded as the trusted war horse of Chinese space programme, failed after 35 successful launches and only second time that China had abort a satellite since 1996 after it developed its space applications modelled on the Russian technology.