The next-generation Chinese CZ-8 (Long March 8) medium-lift carrier rocket is scheduled for its first test flight by the end of 2018.
The core-stage of CZ-8 will be based on CZ-7 and CZ-3A (Long March 3A) carrier rockets, the CZ-8 is expected to have two solid-propelled boosters with a diameter of 6.5 feet, Li Tongyu, the head of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology said Monday.
"If everything goes well, its maiden flight will take place by the end of 2018," Li was quoted as saying by China Daily.
The rocket will be able to deliver a payload of about 4.5 metric tons to a sun-synchronous orbit, or 2.5 tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit, Li added.
The CZ-8 is likely to be based on the first-stage of the CZ-7, powered by two single-chamber 1,200 kN-thrust YF-100 liquid-fuelled engines burning the LOX/kerosene bi-propellant. It will be added with the third-stage of the CZ-3A/B/C series launch vehicle, powered by a YF-75 engine burning the LOX/LH2 bi-propellant.
The launch vehicle will also be assisted by two or four solid rocket boosters.
“We need three years for the development of the launch vehicle and, if all goes according to schedule, test flight will take place in late 2018,” said Lee Tonyyy.
According to him, CZ-8 will have block construction and be equipped with engines that are used in CZ-5 and CZ-7.
The Central stage of the rocket will be based on the CZ-7 and CZ-3A, and is also equipped with two solid amps, with a diameter of two meters.