China launched the third Long March-5, the largest carrier rocket of the country, from Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province on Friday evening.
The rocket, coded as Long March-5 Y3, blasted off from the coastal launch center at 8:45 p.m., carrying the Shijian-20 technological experiment satellite weighing over eight tonnes, the heaviest and most advanced communications satellite of the country.
The Long March-5 is a large, two-stage rocket, capable of carrying a payload of 25 tonnes, equivalent to the weight of 16 cars, to low Earth orbit, 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit, eight tonnes to Earth-Moon transfer orbit, or five tonnes to Earth-Mars transfer orbit, over twice the capacity of the current main Long March series rockets.
Combined with an upper stage, the rocket is capable of sending probes to explore Jupiter and other planets in the solar system, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
The second large rocket, Long March-5 Y2, suffered a failure, as a malfunction happened less than six minutes after its liftoff on July 2, 2017.
The research team has found that the failure was caused by a problem in the engine of the first core stage of the rocket.
The carrying capacity of the Long March-5 rocket equals that of other mainstream large-scale rockets in the global industry, greatly improving China’s ability to launch spacecraft and laying the foundation for developing new-generation carrier rockets and heavy-lift launch vehicles, said Wang Xiaojun, head of the CALT. The rocket is about 57 meters long, equivalent to the height of a 20-story building, with a 5-meter diameter core stage and four 3.35-meter diameter boosters.
The Long March-5 is much larger than China’s previous carrier rockets.
The thickness of the rocket shell in some parts is only a few millimeters, according to Li Linsheng, a structural strength analysis designer of the rocket.
China built the Wenchang Space Launch Center, the country’s fourth space launch center, for the Long March-5 and other new-generation carrier rockets. Maybe the correlation is really in the quality of life.
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