Rocket scientists reach for the sky

Updated: 2016-10-07 07:41

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

Major Long March rockets in service

Long March 2C

Blast-off date: September 1982. Mainly used to launch satellites into low and sun-synchronous orbit.

Long March 2F: November 1999. Primarily to launch Shenzhou manned spacecraft and Tiangong space laboratories.

Long March 3B: August 1997. Mostly to launch satellites into geostationary transfer orbit.

Long March 4B: May 1999. To place satellites into sun-synchronous orbit.

Long March 6: September 2015. Again, mostly to place satellites in sun-synchronous orbit.

Long March 7: June 2016. This rocket will be used for nearly 80 percent of China's space launches in the future.

China's manned space activities:

Shenzhou V mission: Launched on Oct 15, 2003, lasting 21 hours. China's first manned space mission.

Shenzhou VI mission: Launched on Oct 12, 2005, lasting nearly 5 days.

Shenzhou VII mission: Launched on Sept 25, 2008, lasting nearly 3 days. China's first extra-vehicular mission.

Tiangong I mission: Launched on Sept 29, 2011, lasting more than two years. China's first space laboratory.

Shenzhou IX mission: Launched on June 16, 2012, lasting nearly 13 days. China's first space docking.

Shenzhou X mission: Launched on June 11, 2013, lasting nearly 15 days. The longest stay in space by Chinese astronauts.

Tiangong II mission: Launched on Sept 15, 2016, will last two years. China's second space laboratory.

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