Credit: China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO)

Since China’s newly-developed Long March-5B arrived at its launch site on February 5, preparations are in full swing for its inaugural April liftoff.

The booster will be topped by the prototype of China’s new manned spaceship. It will be unpiloted.

New crewed spacecraft. Credit: CCTV

The Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China is the busy site for tests and rehearsals before the official launch.

Maiden flight

“The preparation has been underway since the Long March-5B carrier rocket arrived at the site on Feb 5. With effective prevention and control measures to ensure safety, we have already completed the restoration of ground equipment and finished the procedure of rocket transfer. We are confident that we will carry out rehearsals and the maiden flight successfully,” said Su Lei, chief designer of the Long March-5B rocket in a China Central Television (CCTV) interview.

China’s space station to be operating in the 2020’s. Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

The Long March-5B rocket is developed on the basis of the Long March-5 rocket. It will mainly be used for launching different cabins of China’s space station which is scheduled to be completed in 2022. It can boost more than 22 tons into low-Earth orbit – the largest carrying capacity for low-Earth orbit among all Chinese rockets.




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