China successfully launched its heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket on Friday evening, in a key step forward in its ambitious space programme after a series of setbacks.
Also known as the CZ-5, the rocket blasted off from a launch pad at the Wenchang centre in Hainan province with more than 1,000 tonnes of thrust at 8.45pm.
The Chinese space authorities declared the mission a “complete success” just over half an hour after the lift off when the Shijian-20 satellite it carried entered its designated orbit.
“After more than two years’ effort… the research and development team has overcome challenges in engine technology. [We] solved the problem,” Wang Yu, chief commander of the launch mission, told China News Services.
The launch will help to ensure that key technology to be used in subsequent missions works properly, including the Long March 5’s systems.
“The new satellite will bring China’s communication technology to a new era,” said Zhou Zhicheng, chief commander of the Dongfanghong-5 satellite platform…. see more