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People's Daily Online

China's largest carrier rocket arrives at launch center

People's Daily Online

By Yuan Can (People's Daily Online) 15:13, September 02, 2016

The Long March-5, China's largest carrier rocket to date, arrived at a launch center in southern China on Sept. 1. The rocket is scheduled to be launched in November, according to national defense and aerospace authorities.

Transported by two special rocket-carrying ships, Yuanwang-21 and Yuanwang-22, the rocket departed for Qinglan Port in Wenchang, Hainan province on Aug. 26, according to the State Administration of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) and China National Space Administration.

Instead of highly toxic propellants, Long March-5 uses liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen and lox kerosene as fuel, making it relatively environmentally friendly. Its engines can produce a thrust of more than 1,000 metric tons when taking off.

The diameter of the liquid-fuel rocket was expanded from 3.35 meters to 5 meters, which offers a significant advantage when it comes time to enter space. However, the larger diameter necessitated the rocket's transportation to the launch center by ship, as its diameter is too large to pass through tunnels.

As the country's strongest carrier rocket, the Long March-5 has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes in low Earth orbit and 14 tonnes in geostationary orbit.

The rocket is planned to carry the Chang'e-5 lunar probe in 2017 and will be used to launch China's space station modules and Mars probes.

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