Known as the Long March 5, China’s most powerful heavy-lift launch vehicle is expected to make its first test flight from Hainan’s Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in November.
In the meantime, its manufacturing base in the northern port city of Tianjin is producing the second one.
“Right now, we possess the ability to batch produce rockets with diameter of both 3.35 meters and 5 meters,” Meng said.
Long March 5 is a Chinese next-generation heavy lift launch system that is currently under development by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). CZ-5 is the first Chinese vehicle with new design focusing on liquid rocket propellants from the ground up. Currently, two CZ-5 vehicle configurations are planned for different missions, with a maximum payload capacity of ~25,000 kilograms (55,000 lb) to LEO and ~14,000 kilograms (31,000 lb) to GTO.
The Long March 5 is planned to roughly match the capabilities of American EELV heavy-class vehicles such as the Delta IV Heavy.
First flight of the CZ-5 rocket is scheduled for November 2016 from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Center on Hainan island