Second flight of China’s Long March-5 set for early July.
Credit: CGTN

China is readying the next launch of its Long March-5 booster, aiming for a liftoff in early July.

This is the second launch of the powerful booster – and is also the rocket required for China’s Moon return sample mission slated for late November of this year. The Long March-5 is also essential to lift space station modules and deep space probes.

Launch window

According to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, the launch window has been set for the July 2-5 time period.

China’s Xinhua news agency reports that the carrier rocket has been vertically transported to the launch zone at Wenchang Space Launch Center.

The upcoming Long March-5 Y2 is carrying Shijian-18 communication satellite. It will test processes for the new Dongfanghong-5 satellites and carry out a set of in-orbit experiments.

The booster arrived at the sprawling launch base on May 5 and has undergone assembly and checkout.

Wenchang launch site.
Credit: CCTV

Booster capacity

Fuelled by liquid hydrogen, kerosene and liquid oxygen, the Long March-5 can haul payloads of 25 tons into low Earth orbit and 14 tons into geostationary orbit. That capability is over 2.5 times the capacity of current Long March carrier rockets.

The Long March-5’s maiden flight was also from Wenchang in November 2016.

During the upcoming flight, the Long March-5 Y2 is slated to further test its core technology and accumulate data useful for the launch of the Chang’e-5 sample return mission scheduled for the second half of this year.

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