China’s most powerful launch vehicle Long March-5B made its maiden flight on Tuesday and successfully sent the trial version of the country’s new-generation manned spaceship and a return capsule for cargo to space, state media reported. The white large rocket fired from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the coast of the South China island province of Hainan at 6:00 PM. (Beijing Time), reports state-run news agency Xinhua, citing the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
About 488 seconds later, the unmanned experimental manned spacecraft, along with the test version of the charge return capsule, separated with the missile and entered the planned orbit. The successful flight marks the “third step” of China’s manned space program, which is building a space station, according to the CMSA.
Long March-5B, specially developed for China’s manned space program, will be used primarily to launch the space station’s modules, he said. Construction of the Chinese space station is coming a step closer with the successful first flight of its new major launch vehicle, a senior space official said.
The Long March-5B was specifically designed to launch the space station modules, said Wang Jue, chief director of the rocket development team at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The new rocket, a variant of China’s largest launch vehicle, the Long March-5, will help expand China’s space activities, said Wang Xiaojun, head of CALT.
The Long March-5B is about 53.7 meters long, with a core stage with a diameter of 5 meters and four boosters with a diameter of 3.35 meters. Compared to the Long March-5, the Long March-5B has one core less but a larger fairing, which is 20.5 meters long and 5.2 meters in diameter, the height of a six-story building and almost eight meters longer than the cockpit of Long March-5.
The Long March-5 rocket will be used primarily for launching large satellites into Earth orbit and deep-space probes, such as the Chang & # 39; e-5 lunar probe and the Mars probe. The Long March-5B rocket, according to CALT, will primarily transport capsules from the Chinese space station and large spacecraft to low Earth orbit. The Long March-5B missile has increased China’s payload to low Earth orbit from about 14 tons to 22 tons, which is equivalent to the payload of leading launch vehicles around the world, the Xinhua report said.
With the largest payload capacity of today’s carriers in China, the Long March-5B enables the launch of large spacecraft. For example, each module of the Chinese space station will weigh more than 20 tons and will only be carried into space by the new rocket. The research team spent nearly 10 years developing the new missile and making breakthroughs in a range of key technologies, said Li Dong, the missile’s chief designer.
The Long March-5B has the largest fairing of Chinese launchers, specially designed to transport the space station modules. A rotary separation system ensures that the fairing can be safely separated from the loads in the room. To meet the requirements of rendezvous and module docking, the Long March-5B missile must be launched within a “zero window,” meaning the start time error must be less than a second, Li said.
The Long March-5 integrates high-quality space technologies, including non-toxic eco-friendly fuel and a very stable control system, the state-run Global Times reported. “After the launch of the Long March-5, China will launch a series of 20-ton missiles, including the Long March-5, 6 and 7,” Wang Xiaojun, commander in chief of Long March-7, told the Daily.
The rocket will help bring the nuclear module and experiment modules to the Chinese space station. China started the manned space program in 1992. The Long March-5 was designed as the strongest launch vehicle in the country and has a payload of 25 tons in a low Earth orbit, or 14 tons in a geostationary transfer orbit, a previous report said. Xinhua.