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July 27, 2010

China is Planning a large Heavy Lift Rocket

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The Long March 5 can have 10.64 MN of thrust and 25 tons to low earth orbit

10.64 MN (long march) = 1,086 tons of thrust. This is a multi-rocket configuration.

China is planning to develop rocket engines that could generate 600 tons of thrust and five could be combined to 3000 tons of thrust. This is likely about as powerful (90%) as the Energia. The Russian Energia rocket had 32 MN of thrust and could lift 100 tons to low earth orbit. The Energia had a core thruster, so it could act as a second stage. 32 MN (meganewtons) divided by 9.8 N/kg (or 9.8 kN/T) yields 3,300 metric tons of thrust. Thanks to Goatguy for the corrections and calculations.

The Saturn V (used for the moon missions) had 34,020,000 N of thrust in the first stage and had two other stages.

"Rockets (with 600-tonne thrust engines) would only be justified for things like sending humans to the Moon, if such projects are approved," Li Tongyu told BBC News.

Or for superheavy lift.

In the meantime, the development of the Long March-5 rocket was proceeding well toward its first test launch, currently expected in 2014, Li Tongyu said.

The vehicle's first stage engine had already accumulated more than 10,000 seconds of firing during tests - an important milestone on the way to its certification for real missions.

A full-scale prototype of the Long March 5 rocket would be ready for testing in 2012 and a year later, test firing of fully assembled rocket stages would be conducted
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