Long March-5: China successfully launches largest carrier rocket
China has successfully launched its largest carrier rocket, Long March-5, carrying the Shijian-20 satellite, from Wenchang Space Launch Center (WSLC) in south China’s Hainan Province. China’s most powerful rocket is a critical ingredient in nation’s ambitious space programme.
About Long March-5
The rocket which is also known as CZ-5 is China’s heaviest and most advanced communications satellite. It can carry a maximum payload of 25 tonnes into low Earth orbit (LEO) and 14 tonnes into geosynchronous orbit. The successful launch is a major step forward for China’s planned mission to Mars in 2020.
It blasted off with more than 1,000 tonnes of thrust. The mission was declared a complete success by Chinese space authorities after lift-off when Shijian-20 satellite it carried entered its designated orbit. This is China’s third attempt to launch rocket and first attempt was made in 2016. However, during first attempt, the rocket failed to reach speed required for early phase of flight. The second attempt also failed.
About Shijian-20 satellite
It is a new technology test and verification satellite. The satellite will lay foundation for development of highly sensitive space probes. Shijian-20 weighs more than 8 tonnes and will carry out orbit experiments for a series of key technologies. It is China’s heaviest and most advanced communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit. It is made by ‘China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)’ under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).