China plans to launch the heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-9 in 2028, said an official of China National Space Administration (CNSA) at the World Conference on Science Literacy 2018 on Tuesday.
Li Guoping, director of the Department of System Engineering of the CNSA, said that the length of the Long March-9 will exceed 90 meters, and the rocket would have a core stage with a diameter of 10 meters.
It would be able to carry a payload of 140 tonnes into low-Earth orbit, five times that of the Long March-5, said Li.
The first version of the SpaceX BFR has been re-designed to carry 100 tons to low-earth orbit. Later upgrades will enable 150 tons or more to low-earth orbit.
If SpaceX BFR and NASA Space Launch System have delays then the Long March 9 will be the most powerful rocket in 2028.
The rocket’s capacity would also reach 50 tonnes for Earth-Moon transfer orbit.
China is also developing a medium space rocket, the Long March-8, which is expected to make its maiden flight in 2020.