China launches Long March-5 rocket
Hainan [China], Dec 28 (Xinhua/ANI): China launched the third Long March-5, the largest carrier rocket of the country, from Wenchang Space Launch Centre in south China's Hainan Province on Friday evening.
The rocket, coded as Long March-5 Y3, blasted off from the coastal launch centre at 8:45 pm (Beijing time), carrying the Shijian-20 technological experiment satellite weighing over eight tonnes, the heaviest and most advanced communications satellite of the country.
About 2,220 seconds later, the satellite was sent into its planned orbit.
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 (CASC).
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. It has a takeoff weight of about 870 tonnes and a thrust of over 1,000 tonnes. (Xinhua/ANI)