China Launches Spacecraft Using Long March-5B Carrier Rocket
China on Tuesday successfully launched its largest carrier rocket, which was carrying a new-generation spacecraft, state broadcaster CCTV said.
The rocket, carrying a new generation of manned spacecraft test vessel and a flexible inflatable cargo return module test capsule, blasted off at 1800 local time (1000 GMT) from China's Wenchang Space Launch Complex.
The rocket carried sending a trial version of China's new-generation manned spaceship along with a cargo return capsule for test into space.
About 488 seconds after lift off, 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 Long March-5B is about 53.7 meters long with a core stage of 5 meters in diameter, four 3.35-metre diameter boosters strapped together and a fairing 20.5 meters long and 5.2 meters in diameter. Its takeoff weight is about 849 tonnes. The rocked uses non-toxic and non-polluting liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen and kerosene as propellants and a launch capacity of not less than 22 tons in NEO.
The successful flight inaugurates the "third step" of China's manned space program, which is to construct a space station, said China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSA).
China aims to complete a multi-module, inhabited space station around 2022. It became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket in 2003 after the former Soviet Union and the United States.