New Chinese rocket, medium Long March 7 started its journey from China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology factory near Tianjin to Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, Hainan, China.

According to Xinhua news agency first Long March 7 rocket was loaded today to “Yuan Wang-21” cargo ship in the port of Tianjin. Destination is Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, most modern Chinese space center placed in Hainan province. It will not be long journey, but it will take at least two days due the fact that Tianjin is placed in the North China and Hainan is island placed on South China Sea near shores of Vietnam. “Yuan Wang-21” with Long March 7 onboard which is now (at 20:00 GMT, May 8, 2016) on 177° course and sails with speed of 17.3kn (now You know how useful could be maritime satellite services…). It will reach its destination, probably Haikou New Port which is main sea port for container ships arriving from Tianjin, on Wednesday.

Maiden flight of Long March 7 is planned for June 2016 and it will be the culmination of eight years of work of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CAST). With 13.5 t payload capacity for LEO mission rocket is considered as future workhorse which will take crucial place during Tiangong-2 space station program. Words by Yang Baohua, deputy manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation seem to confirm it:

“The Long March-7 launch scheduled for late June will be of great significance as it will usher in China’s space lab mission,”

According to news agency Long March 7 will be used during resupply missions of Tianzhou spacecraft. Tianzhou will be robotic spacecraft, which will be used for resupplying instead of Shenzhou spacecraft. Some sources claims that during maiden flight of Long March 7 scaled model of next generation re-entry capsule will be delivered to Tiangong-2 for reentry test.

Long March 7 rocket was designed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation as medium sized launch vehicle fitting with dimensions and payload capacity between Long March 5 and smaller Long March 6. It is based on Long March 2F with identical core diameter at 3.35 m and diameter of liquid fueled boosters (2.25 m). Propulsion was changed for fueled with more environment friendly fueled with liquid oxygen and kerosene. Engines are same as Long March 5 – YF-100 engines will be used for core and of each strap-on booster. Rocket is long for 53.1 m and weighs 594000 kg. Four boosters each with one YF-100 will support first stage equipped with two YF-100 engines. Each engine will give 1200 kN at sea level. Second stage will be powered by four YF-115 engines with thrust at 706 kN. Both engines are modern construction by Xi’an Aerospace Propulsion Institute and were designed since early 2000s as propulsion for Long March 7 and Long March 6 rockets.