Long March-5 ready for first liftoff. Credit: CASC via GBTimes

Long March-5 ready for first liftoff.
Credit: CASC via GBTimes

China’s new booster, the Long March-5, is being readied for its maiden flight on Thursday (Beijing time), according to news reports.

A successful liftoff would signal a step forward in lofting heavier payloads for China’s space station program, as well as hurling spacecraft to the Moon and beyond.

Launch center

The rocket was transported to the launch site in Wenchang City on Oct. 28 for its maiden flight, according to CCTV-Plus. The launch center is conducting all the preparations of the five systems including communication system and logistics system.

At the Wenchang launch center — China’s new sprawling spaceport – the launch pad hardware is undergoing final checkout, including tests underway by launch personnel, said Han Dawei, an engineer of rocket’s measuring and controlling system at the center.

Liftoff readiness

The launch center is China’s first situated along the coast and was the locale for conducted the Long March-7’s successful liftoff on April 25th.

All is ready for maiden liftoff of China's new heavy-lift booster. Credit: CASC via GBTimes

All is ready for maiden liftoff of China’s new heavy-lift booster.
Credit: CASC via GBTimes

Chinese booster makers dub the Long March-5 a “super rocket” with a payload capacity of between 13 and 23 tons and a liftoff thrust of over 10,000 kilonewtons, reports CCTV-Plus. The giant rocket requires more time for preparation and technical verification prior to liftoff.

Weather forecast

The center is doing their best to provide an accurate weather forecast to prepare for the rocket’s premier takeoff.

Guo Xuewen, weather forecast engineer at the Wenchang launch center explains:

“We could forecast typhoons in five days when we launched Long March-7. Now we have to forecast typhoons in nine days. Our main task is to forecast the weather of the launch window and before the launch window when we are filling propellant at low temperature. Typhoons have formed in west Pacific recently. So, we will pay close attention of the activities of the cold air, climate development and the weather of the launch center.”

Launch tower

Tang Jian’gong, head of the Wenchang launching station, adds that the upcoming flight “will test the accuracy and reliability of the design of both the Long March-5 and its launching tower.”

Credit: CCTV-Plus

Credit: CCTV-Plus

Being China’s only launching site close to sea, the Long March-5 launching tower is a solid structure of steel and reinforced concrete with anti-corrosive coatings of various designs to fend off both hot and humid elements.

Apart from its colossal water tank at the base for sound suppression as well as cooling effect, sprinklers are also installed along both sides of the launching tower to cool it down immediately after the Long March-5 liftoff.

Credit: CCTV-Plus

Credit: CCTV-Plus

“After the first blast-off, other Long March-5’s will be used to launch geosynchronous orbiting communications satellites, Moon and Mars probes,” Tang notes.





For a view of Long March-5 launch preparations, go to:



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