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article imageChina to launch its heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket on Friday

By Karen Graham     Dec 26, 2019 in Technology
Hainan - China will launch it's heavy-lift carrier rocket, Long March 5 Friday on a critical validation mission after a core stage engine failure doomed a launch in 2017 and forced a two-and-a-half-year investigation and redesign effort.
The launch will be the third-ever for the carrier rocket coded as Long March 5 YE after a mission failure in 2017 that was eventually traced to a problem with a first-stage engine, according to
The Long March 5 is capable of lifting up to 14 metric tons — nearly 31,000 pounds into geostationary orbit, putting it right beside the United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy and the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5. Brian Harvey, the author of China in Space: The Great Leap Forward, says, “The Long March 5 is a quantum step forward for China."
China's Friday launch will be number 34 for the nation - well ahead of Russia with about 20 launches and the U.S. with 23 launches. “The how-many-rockets-have-you-launched metric only has a particular value, but I don’t think a few years ago we would have expected to see China launching more rockets than anyone else,” says Harvey, according to Forbes.
This is an image og the Shijian-9 launched in October 2012. The Shijian 20 spacecraft is similar but...
This is an image og the Shijian-9 launched in October 2012. The Shijian 20 spacecraft is similar but with different configurations. “Shijian” means “Practice” and this series of satellites have previously been used with a variety of configurations and missions for scientific research and technological experiments.
In a newly posted China Central Television (CCTV) video, China National Space Administration (CNSA) deputy head Wu Yanhua reports that the rocket has been meticulously worked on by engineers and the rocket is prepped for launch.
"Next, we will fill it with fuel at the launching area and run some tests," Wu told CCTV. The success of the Long March 5 is essential to China's future plans for a space station, as well as its moon and Mars exploration plans.
"If the flight is successful, it will be tasked with a series of key missions including launching China's first Mars probe, the Chang'e 5 lunar probe and a core module for the manned space station," Wu said. A variant of the Long March 5, the Long March-5B, will be used to construct China's space station.
The third Long March-5 rocket  China s largest carrier rocket  was vertically transported to the lau...
The third Long March-5 rocket, China's largest carrier rocket, was vertically transported to the launching site at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan Province on December 21, 2019.
For tomorrow's mission, the Long March 5 will be deploying the Shijian 20 communications satellite into an elliptical, or egg-shaped, transfer orbit stretching more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) from Earth at its most distant point.
According to Next Space Flight, the DFH-5 ultra-high-performance satellite platform features a high-thrust ion propulsion system. It will provide payload power up to 28 Kilowatts. The satellite hosts a Ka-band of 70 Gbps high-throughput communications payload and an optical infrared laser communications terminal for downlinks with data rates of up to 4.8 Gbit/s. An experimental quantum communications payload, similar to the one on QSS (Mozi), is also reported to be on board.
More about space launch, China, Long March 5 rocket, validation mission, Wenchang Space Launch Center
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