Photo: China’s Long March-5 rocket launches into space from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island Thursday (Nov. 3) morning. Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

Yesterday (Nov. 3) China successfully launched its most powerful rocket to date into space. The ‘Long March-5’ heavy lift rocket measures up closely with United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV, currently the world’s largest and most powerful rocket.

Though few details were released about the rocket’s first mission, it apparently carried an experimental satellite into orbit designed to test electric-propulsion technology.

Long March-5 is a leap ahead for China’s space program combining cutting-edge technology with a non-toxic, eco-friendly fuel. It will be involved in some impressive new endeavors for the Chinese. Next year, officials say the heavy lifter will boost the Chang’e-5 rover to the moon for a robotic lunar mission. Long March-5 will reportedly also enable the construction of a 60-ton Chinese space station by 2020.

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