China to launch its second heavy-left carrier rocket in coming days

Posted July 03, 2017

The Long March 5 is the heaviest of the three new generation rockets being developed by China using the core stage and different combinations of strap-on boosters and an third upper stage. The launch, broadcast live by Chinese media, appeared to go as planned, but those broadcasts ended prior to any announcement of separation of the rocket's payload, the Shijian-18 communications satellite. This is the second launch of the heavyweight rocket, one of the most powerful in the world, and comes as a major setback to the Chinese space program. It also was not clear whether the rocket had entered its orbit.

The launch of China's latest heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-5 Y2, was announced unsuccessful on Sunday evening. Xinhua only said that an "anomaly" occurred during the launch, and that an investigation would take place.

"The failure points out that rocket science isn't easy - if it were there would be a lot more countries with the capabilities so far reserved to the US, Russia and a handful of others within varying degrees", says Joan Johnson-Freese, Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College, expressing her personal views.

What is Long March-5 rocket?

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This was the second flight of the Long March 5, which debuted successfully in November previous year.

The Long March 5 is a key part of China's human spaceflight and planetary exploration plans. The probe will collect samples before returning to Earth.

Construction is slated to begin in 2019, starting with the Tianhe core module. The next Long March 5 launch was scheduled for November, carrying the Chang'e-5 spacecraft.

According to a launching site official, specialists are now carrying out the last testing and fuel the rocket, while the weather conditions are expected to be fine for the launch.