China's new generation of carrier rocket, the Long March 5, with a maximum payload capacity of 25 tons, will come into use in 2014.
A Long March 2F carrier rocket will be used for China's third manned space mission this year. Compared with the previous two manned , the upcoming Shenzhou VII space mission, which includes a space walk, is more complex.
The new series of rockets will lift off from a new space launch center in Wenchang, in the southern island province of Hainan. The new center, the fourth in China, is expected to be completed in 2012 and formally put into use in 2013.
The first phase of the 200-hectare base will be completed at the end of 2009. A total of 4.5 billion yuan (630 million U.S. dollars) will be invested in the project.
The base will meet the demands of China's space technology development and peaceful use of space for 30 to 50 years, according to Yu Liegui, deputy head of the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense.
China has launched more than 100 Long March carrier rockets since April 24, 1970, when the Long March 1 successfully sent Dongfanghong-1 satellite into the space.