05 March 2019
China announced on 5 March that the country's new solid rocket booster, propelled by a 200-tonne thrust engine, completed hot firing tests, proving its readiness for commercial launches. With a diameter of 2.65 meters, the booster engine is expected to be used on the modified version of the Long March-11 rocket. The rocket is the only series in the Long March family that uses solid propellants, and it can be launched within 24 hours.
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05 March 2019
China's first carrier rocket for commercial use is scheduled to make its maiden flight in the first half of 2019, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The rocket, named Smart Dragon-1 (SD-1), is the first member of the Dragon series commercial carrier rockets family to be produced by CALVT, as China accelerates the development of commercial space industry.
China's current carrier rockets all belong to the Long March family.
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05 March 2019
An army of robots will assist with the daily operation and maintenance of FAST, the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, in Guizhou Province, said Lin Hao, Deputy Head of the province’s Science and Technology Department. Lin said the department has secured support from the Ministry of Science and Technology to develop an intelligent operational system, to be jointly created by top teams across the country. The robots will perform a broad range of tasks, including weed control on the slope and automatic interference detection.
The central government will earmark no less than 50 million yuan for the project, which will also receive additional support from Guizhou.
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03 March 2019
China will gradually open data collected by the Chang'e 4 lunar probe to the world, the country's lunar programme Chief Designer said. Wu Weiren, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, made the statement in his capacity as a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body, on the sidelines of its annual session, which opened on 3 March. Wu said both the lander and the rover have been woken up from a "sleep mode" and are now collecting new data.
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05 March 2019
The China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) announced on 4 March that the core module of the country's space station, the Long March-5B (CZ-5B) carrier rocket and its payloads will be sent to the launch site in the second half of this year, to make preparations for the space station missions. China is scheduled to complete the construction of the space station around 2022. It will be the country's space lab in long-term stable in-orbit operation. The space station will have a core module and experiment modules, which are under development and will be launched into space by the CZ-5B. Joint exercises will be carried out in the Wenchang Space Launch Center at the end of 2019 for the maiden flight of the CZ-5B. Programs to select and train astronauts are underway.
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03 March 2019
China has opened its first Mars simulation base to the public to encourage young people to get involved in space exploration. The Mars simulation base, which opened on 1 March, is located in Mangai city, in Northwest China's Qinghai Province. The red rock area in the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai has been called the most "Martian" place on Earth, with its natural features, landscape and climate all similar to those on the red planet, said Gao Junling, the project founder. The region has the country's largest Yardang landform. The temperatures here vary greatly between day and night, similar to those on Mars, according to Gao.
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