October 31, 2016

China's New 25 ton capacity Long March 5 rocket is on the launch pad and ready for November launch

China's largest carrier rocket, the Long March-5, will make its first trip into space in early November this year.

The rocket, which arrived at the Wenchang launch center in south China's Hainan Province in September, was transported to the launch area on Friday morning, after finishing final assembly and tests, said the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND ).

With the strongest carrying capacity in China, the rocket will receive functional examinations and further tests before launch.

According to the SASTIND, the Long March-5 integrates top space technologies, including non-toxic environmentally-friendly fuel and a highly stable controlling system, representing a landmark in the country's carrier rockets.

At a new coastal launch centre on the southern island of Hainan, China is now all set to launch its largest ever rocket, and in doing so more than double its launch capabilities.

The 800-tonne, 5-metre diameter Long March 5 was rolled out to the launch pad this morning for launch next week. The heavy-lift launch vehicle is capable of lifting a 25 tonne payload to low Earth orbit, making it comparable to the most powerful active rockets in the world such as the Delta-IV Heavy, Atlas V and Ariane 5.


Long March 5 heads to the launch tower on October 28, 2016. (Photo: CASC)



China plans to use the Long March 5 to launch the core of a three-module, 60-tonne space station. The first space station launch by Long March 5 in 2018, and be completed in the early 2020s, including two experiment modules and a Hubble-class telescope that can dock for repairs.


Long March 5 will have six configurations with different launch capacities for various mission profiles and orbits, with engineers currently focusing on the two versions for the 2017 Chang’e-5 lunar sample return and space station modules

“The rockets utilise a universal modularised design which can be easily combined into new rocket variants for various missions,” says Professor Huang, at the same time improving reliability and launch preparation and lowering costs.

The kerosene, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuels used are also much less toxic and polluting than the hydrazine rockets China has relied on for decades.

There are also unconfirmed suggestions that China is working on an uprated version of the Long March 5, which would be in the same class as the proposed Falcon Heavy being planned by SpaceX.

Before the Long March 9 comes online around 2030, this uprated launcher could allow China to get people on the Moon by using three launches and vehicle docking before leaving low Earth orbit.

SOURCES= GB times, Xinhua, Youtube

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