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Upgraded "Space Shuttle Bus" aboard New Carrier Rocket
SOURCE: Xinhua     UPDATED: 2016-06-28

WENCHANG, Hainan, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Long March-7, China's new generation carrier rocket, has carried an upper stage aircraft into the space in its maiden flight Saturday, said a senior space program official.

The upgraded model of Yuanzheng-1 (Expedition-1) is an independent aircraft carried by the carrier rocket with the ability of sending multiple spacecrafts into different orbits in space, said Wang Xiaojun, chief commander of the Long March-7 program, at a press conference after the Long March-7's successful launch.

The aircraft, dubbed the "space shuttle bus", has been launched into the earth orbit by the Long March-7 and in the next 48 hours will deliver several "passengers" to different orbits using its own power system, Wang said.

These "passengers" aboard Yuanzheng-1A are of different size and weight, he said.

If the mission succeeds, it will be a landmark for China's space transport and lay a solid foundation for future moon and Mars exploration as well as orbital transfer and space debris clearing, Wang said.