Gi­ant new rocket roars into space

The first Long March 5, a ti­tanic heavy-lift car­rier with a weight of 870 met­ric tons, pierced the heav­ens Thurs­day night

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI in Wen­chang, Hainan zhaolei@chi­

China launched its first heavylift Long March 5 car­rier rocket late Thurs­day, mark­ing a new mile­stone in the coun­try’s space in­dus­try.

As China’s first-gen­er­a­tion heavy-lift rocket, the Long March 5 has a liftoff weight of 870 met­ric tons, and a max­i­mum pay­load ca­pac­ity of 25 tons to low Earth or­bit and 14 tons to geosyn­chronous trans­fer or­bit.

The 57-me­ter-tall rocket, the tallest in China’s car­rier rocket fam­ily, thun­dered away with a blind­ing white flash from the Wen­chang Space Launch Cen­ter in the is­land prov­ince of Hainan at 8:43 pm. It fer­ried the Shi­jian 17 sci­en­tific ex­per­i­ment satel­lite and a Yuanzheng 2 upper stage, which is ca­pa­ble of putting mul­ti­ple pay­loads into dif­fer­ent or­bits dur­ing a sin­gle mis­sion.

As the na­tion’s strong­est and most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced launch ve­hi­cle, Long March 5 will en­able China to put its fu­ture manned sta­tion into space and send un­manned probes to Mars, ac­cord­ing to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Science, Tech­nol­ogy and In­dus­try for Na­tional De­fense, which over­sees the rocket’s de­vel­op­ment.

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