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article imageChina launches new-generation spacecraft via Long March-5B

By Karen Graham     May 5, 2020 in Technology
China has launched a new generation crew space capsule at around 10:00 UTC on May 5, 2020, using the first Long March-5B rocket. The launch took place from the LC101 Launch Complex of the Wenchang Spaceflight Launch Center, in Hainan.
According to CBC Canada, the official Xinhua News Agency is reporting the new generation crew capsule is an improvement over its previous Shenzhou capsule based on the former Soviet Union's Soyuz model and can carry six astronauts rather than just three. The capsule is composed of a service module and a return capsule and was designed to be reused ten times.
This first launch of the Long March 5B will also test its configuration for the space station Tianhe core module, including a test of the fairing to be used when China starts the construction of its modular Tiangong station. This is why no launch escape/abort system was used on the new crew capsule.
The new crew capsule will also be tested for a number of key technologies such as the control of its re-entry into the atmosphere coming from lunar velocities, and its heat shielding and recovery technology, specifically multiple parachutes, and airbags. The new capsule will go to an 8,000 kilometers (4971 miles) high orbit before coming to a high-speed re-entry.
In March, China said it was planning the launch an experimental spacecraft without a crew as part of a broader spaceflight program to shuttle astronauts to its future space station and for future manned space exploration. The launch was originally planned for mid-to-late April, reports Reuters.
China has plans to complete a multi-module space station by 2022 and become a major space power by 2030. China became the third country to put a man into space in 2003 with its own rocket, after the Soviet Union and the United States.
More about China, Next generation, crew capsule, Long March 5B, crewed spaceflight program
 
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