China is planning the maiden flight of Long March 11A rocket in 2022, development of which has already begun.
The carrier rocket is an upgraded version of China’s Long March 11 that will be larger in size besides having greater thrust. Design work of the new model will be completed by the end of 2020.
The new Long March 11A will be able to send 1.5 tons of payload to a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 kilometers, nearly four times the Long March 11's capacity to that orbit, designers said.
On Saturday, Long March 11 rocket was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province for the first time, sending two technology demonstration satellites into orbit. The mission marked the first use of a 2-meter-diameter fairing on a Long March 11 and the first use of a new rocket launch vehicle, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp said.
Designed and built by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the Long March 11 is the first and only solid-fuel rocket in the Long March family, the pillar of China's space programs.
It is 20.8 meters long, has a diameter of 2 meters and a liftoff weight of 58 metric tons. It is capable of sending satellites to low-Earth orbit or sun-synchronous orbit, the academy said.