China's new large rocket makes maiden flight
China's new large carrier rocket Long March-5B made its maiden flight on 5 May 2020, sending the trial version of the country's new-generation manned spaceship and a cargo return capsule for test into space. The white large rocket blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the coast of southern China's island province of Hainan. About 488 seconds later, the experimental manned spacecraft with no crew, together with the test version of the cargo return capsule, separated with the rocket and entered the planned orbit.
- The successful flight inaugurates the "third step" of China's manned space program, which is to construct a space station.
- Specially developed for China's manned space program, Long March-5B will be mainly used to launch the modules of the space station.
- The Long March-5 integrates top space technologies, including non-toxic environmentally friendly fuel and a highly stable control system.
- After the launch of the Long March-5, China will launch a series of 20-ton rockets, including the Long March-5, 6 and 7, Wang Xiaojun, commander-in-chief of the Long March-7 said.
- The rocket will help carry the core module and experiment modules to China's space station.
- China initiated the manned space program in 1992. Designed as the country's strongest carrier rocket, the Long March-5 has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to low Earth orbit, or 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit.