Source: News Bharati English05 Nov 2016 14:32:13

Beijing, November 05: China's newly-developed heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5 blasts off from Wenchang Space Launch center in south China's Hainan province, Nov. 3, 2016.

State media said that with this launch, China presses on with a program which has seen it become a major space power.

The Long March 5 rocket can carry up to 25 tons — around the same weight as 16 cars — into low earth orbit (LEO), state-run China Radio International said.

By contrast the US’s Saturn V, which delivered astronauts to the moon in 1969, was designed to deliver some 154 tons of payload to LEO.

The Chinese rocket launched from the recently built Wenchang launch centre on the tropical island province of Hainan at 8:43pm, according to the official Xinhua news service.

Its components were transported to the island by ship, as they were too heavy to be moved by rail, reports said.

The rocket’s design will be used in future years to propel the core module of China’s permanent space station, as well as lunar and Mars missions.

The project has suffered from years of delays. Test firings of the rocket in a secret facility near Beijing saw several failures, reported the South China Morning Post newspaper citing official sources.