Categories: ChinaLaunchesNews

China Just Launched Its Largest Rocket Ever

China’s newest and biggest heavy-lift rocket was successfully launched today, Nov 3, 2016, testing out China’s latest rocket along with bringing an experimental satellite designed to test electric-propulsion technology.

The Long March 5 rocket blasted off from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island, off China’s southern coast, at 8:43 a.m. EDT (12:43:14 UTC; 8:43 p.m. Beijing time).

Although Chinese space officials have not released many details about the mission or the new rocket, reportedly the Long March-5, (or the Chang Zheng-5, CZ-5) gives China a launch vehicle with similar launch capability to the Delta 4 Heavy or ESA’s Ariane 5, which is twice the capability of China’s Long March-3 (CZ-3).

The 187-foot-tall (57-meter) Long March-5 is powered by 10 liquid-fueled engines, which reportedly generate about 2.4 million pounds of thrust.

The increase in capability is seen as essential for China’s long-range space goals for a bigger and permanently-staffed space station, missions to the Moon, a robotic mission to Mars and the launch of commercial satellites.

The @ChinaSpaceflight Twitter account tweeted this image the launch control center when the YZ-2 upper stage fired:

The Long March-5 is a large, two-stage rocket with a payload capacity of 25 tons to low-Earth orbit. According to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the developer of the Long March-5, the rocket uses kerosene, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, moving away from more toxic propellants like hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. This makes the new rocket not only less expensive to launch but more environmental friendly.

Today’s launch is the second from the new Wenchang launch complex. This past summer, on June 25, China’s new medium-sized Long March-7 made its initial launch from the site.

Source: Xinhuanet

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

View Comments

  • Not against China's endeavors into modern space technology. It's just where did they get the technology from? Anybody want to bet us? Yes, I know China has been working on space research for many years now. But we have been working on space research for many decades and now China has a heavy lift similar to ours? I just wonder how many days before they have have one equal to our heaviest rocket?

    • If China comes up with a new technology today after a decade of effort and the US succeeds in doing the same in the following year, should China raise the same question you are asking?
      I am wondering if your logic is biased.

    • Judging from that logic I'm guessing you are American. :D
      That's not how it works. There is no magic "blueprint in a safe" that you can obtain and then just effortlessly use for a heavy lifting system. You have to actually develop it. Chinese space program is the second largest in a world by the funding. Is it really that surprising that they have some results?

    • Doesn't really matter where their original technology came from - - what matters is what they do with it going forward. After all, didn't the USA get its original rocket technology from former Nazis after World War 2?

    • Where did the US got the technology ? Oh they kidnapped 10s of Nazi scientist after WWII, brought them to US, rebuilt V-2 & hence started NASA.

  • The above may be referring to Hsue-Shen Tsien? He was an MIT scientist who also helped found JPL He lost his security clearance and was barred from further studies by the USA due to fears he might be a commie He ended up being traded for US pilots shot down in Korea. He then found a way to move back to China and. He helped China develop the atom bomb and hydrogen bomb. He was also key in the development of China's ICBM's. So... did China 'steal' our secrets? No, through political paranoia we HANDED China a key element in the modernization of their military and space efforts! NICE, eh?

    Meanwhile... kudo's to China for developing their own heavy launch booster! Aren't we, here in the USA always Adlauding competition as the best way to forward capitalism? Isn't that exactly what China has done? Not exactly democratic capitalism... but still... now number 2 in the world. Who's fault is that?

    Our alien overlords should be proud...(LOL ?)

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