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Freitag, 4. November 2016 - 08:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start und Startvorbereitung für Long March-5

 

17.08.2016

Rocket-carrying ships depart for Long March-5 mission

Two rocket-carrying ships on Tuesday departed to pick up and transport the Long March-5 rocket, China's largest carrier rocket scheduled to be launched later this year.

Yuanwang-21 and Yuanwang-22 set out for north China's Tianjin Port to pick up containers holding the Long March-5 and will arrive at Qinglan Port in Wenchang in South China's Hainan Province after a seven-day journey.

Long March-5 will be launched from the Wenchang satellite launch center.

The Yuanwang ships are China's first ships made exclusively to carry rockets.

In early May this year, Yuanwang-21 transported Long March-7 to Wenchang. As Long March-5 is a heavy-lift rocket, it needs two carrying ships.

Quelle: Xinhua

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Update: 27.08.2016

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Long March-5 rocket leaves for launch site

 

#CHINA-TIANJIN-LONG MARCH-5 ROCKET-TRANSPORT (CN*)  

Parts of the Long March-5 rocket, China's largest carrier rocket, are conveyed to a container at the assembly plant in north China's Tianjin, Aug. 18, 2016. Two rocket-carrying ships, Yuanwang-21 and Yuanwang-22, picked up containers holding the Long March-5 at Tianjin Port and departed on Aug. 26 to transport them to the launch base in Wenchang in south China's Hainan Province. Long March-5 is scheduled to be launched later this year. (Xinhua/He Chao)

 

TIANJIN, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Long March-5 rocket, China's largest carrier rocket is scheduled to make its maiden flight later this year and departed northern China's Tianjin Port for the launch base in southern Hainan Friday.

Carried by two special rocket-carrying ships, Yuanwang-21 and Yuanwang-22, the Long March-5 will arrive at Qinglan Port in Wenchang, Hainan Province, after a seven-day journey.

As the country's strongest carrier rocket, the Long March-5 has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes in low Earth orbit and 14 tonnes in geostationary orbit.

The rocket is planned to carry the Chang'e-5 lunar probe in 2017 and will be used to launch China's space station modules and Mars probes.

"The Long March-5 represents a landmark in the country's carrier rocket upgrading and has expanded the diameter of liquid-fuel rockets to 5 meters from 3.35 meters, and will improve space entering capabilities by 2.5 times," said Wu Yanhua, vice head of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

Instead of highly toxic propellants, the rocket uses liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen and lox kerosene as fuel, making it more environmentally friendly. Its engines can produce a thrust of more than 1,000 tonnes when taking off.

It has taken researchers 16 years to develop the rocket after nearly 7,000 tests. It was developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Completed in 2014, the Wenchang launch site is the fourth of its kind in China. Being the closest site to the equator, Wenchang boasts considerable latitudinal advantages. Satellites launched nearer the equator have a longer service life as they have a shorter journey to make it into geostationary orbit and save fuel accordingly.

 

CHINA-TIANJIN-LONG MARCH-5 ROCKET-TRANSPORT (CN)  

A ship carrying containers holding the Long March-5 rocket, China's largest carrier rocket, is ready to set sail in Tianjin Port, north China, Aug. 25, 2016. Two rocket-carrying ships, Yuanwang-21 and Yuanwang-22, departed on Friday to transport the Long March-5 to launch base in Wenchang in south China's Hainan Province. Long March-5 is scheduled to be launched later this year. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)

 

#CHINA-TIANJIN-LONG MARCH-5 ROCKET-TRANSPORT (CN*)  

Parts of the Long March-5 rocket, China's largest carrier rocket, are seen at the assembly plant in north China's Tianjin, Aug. 18, 2016. Two rocket-carrying ships, Yuanwang-21 and Yuanwang-22, picked up containers holding the Long March-5 at Tianjin Port and departed on Aug. 26 to transport them to the launch base in Wenchang in south China's Hainan Province. Long March-5 is scheduled to be launched later this year. (Xinhua/He Chao)

 

#CHINA-TIANJIN-LONG MARCH-5 ROCKET-TRANSPORT (CN*)  

Parts of the Long March-5 rocket, China's largest carrier rocket, are seen at the assembly plant in north China's Tianjin, Aug. 18, 2016. Two rocket-carrying ships, Yuanwang-21 and Yuanwang-22, picked up containers holding the Long March-5 at Tianjin Port and departed on Aug. 26 to transport them to the launch base in Wenchang in south China's Hainan Province. Long March-5 is scheduled to be launched later this year. (Xinhua/He Chao)

Quelle: Xinhua
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Update: 28.10.2016
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China to launch Long March-5 carrier rocket in November

China's largest carrier rocket, the Long March-5, will make its first trip into space in early November this year.

The rocket, which arrived at the Wenchang launch center in south China's Hainan Province in September, was transported to the launch area on Friday morning, after finishing final assembly and tests, said the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

With the strongest carrying capacity in China, the rocket will receive functional examinations and further tests before launch.

According to the SASTIND, the Long March-5 integrates top space technologies, including non-toxic environmentally-friendly fuel and a highly stable controlling system, representing a landmark in the country's carrier rockets.

Quelle: Xinhua

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Update: 1.11.2016

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Five things to know about China’s Long March 5 rocket 

 
Long March 5 heads to the launch tower on October 28, 2016.Long March 5 heads to the launch tower on October 28, 2016. (Photo: CASC)

China will this week launch its first Long March 5, which will rank among the most powerful active rockets in the world and fulfil specific needs for the country’s space programme.

Here are five things to know about China’s breakthrough:

1. Most powerful rocket

Long March 5 in the integration building at Wenchang (CASC).

The 860-tonne, 5-metre diameter, 53-m tall Long March 5 is a heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of lifting a 25 tonne payload to low Earth orbit.

This is China’s largest rocket by far and is comparable to the most powerful active rockets in the world such as the Delta-IV Heavy, Atlas V and Ariane 5 and – temporarily at least – puts China on a par with the United States and Russia (though US commercial players SpaceX and NASA are all developing much larger launchers).

The rocket has been designed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) to meet the requirements for China’s growing space ambitions, including...

2. Chinese Space Station

The Long March 5 will allow the country to complete the final stage of a long-term human spaceflight project set out in 1992 – a large, permanently crewed space station.

China first put an astronaut in space in 2003, followed by five more crewed missions and two experimental space labs, the second of which, Tiangong-2, is currently hosting the two Shenzhou-11 astronauts.

All of this is a precursor for a three-module, 60-tonne Chinese Space Station (CSS). The Long March 5B variant will be used to launch these components, starting with the Tianhe-1 core module in 2018

3. To the Moon and Mars

The Long March 5 will also allow China to pursue deep space and interplanetary missions. Next year it will launch the Chang’e-5 probe next year to collect and return samples from the Moon, in the final stage of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme (CLEP), and marking the first such attempt by any nation since the 1970s.

In 2020, China will launch its first independent interplanetary mission to Mars. Ambitiously, the project involves sending an orbiter, lander and rover to the Red Planet in one go.

As underlined by the recent experience of ESA and Russia with the ExoMars Schiaparelli lander, this will be no mean feat, but China now has the capabilities to attempt such missions.

Artist impression of China's 2020 Mars rover.
Above: Artist impression of China's 2020 Mars rover.

The launch vehicle will also boost capabilities for launching large satellites high to geosynchronous orbit. This will be tested in this week’s debut with the launch of the technology experiment Shijian-17 satellite, while also proving applicable practice for the Chang’e-5 mission.

4. New spaceport and ships

Developing a rocket of the size and capability of the Long March 5 has also meant new infrastructure and logistics. While China’s established Long March 2, 3, and 4 can transported by train to the three inland launch sites at Jiuquan and Taiyuan in the north and Xichang in the southwest, the five-metre diameter core of the Long March 5 - which brought engineering and manufacturing challenges - makes it too wide for tunnels.
 
So a new coastal launch centre was required and established on the southern island province of Hainan. Being closer to the equator, the Wenchang launch site also gives rockets a boost from the greater rotational speed of the Earth.

Two specially designed ships, Yuanwang 21 and 22, deliver components for the Long March 5 and 7 from Tianjin to Hainan.

Yuanwang 21 and 22 docked at Qinglan Port, Wenchang on September 1.
Above: Yuanwang 21 and 22 delivering Long March 5 to Qinglan Port, Hainan.

Combined with the Long March 5’s role in the CSS, all of this underlines the impressive long-term planning and careful execution of China’s space programme.

5. Next generation rocket

The Long March 5 is part of a new series of rockets that will take China's space programme to new heights, with their modular design and manufacturing bringing benefits in terms of cost, preparation time and reliability.

The engines of the new cryogenic Long March 5, 6 and 7rockets use refined RP-1 kerosene fuel with liquid oxygen oxidiser. This cryogenic propellant is cheaper, provides more thrust and produces far less dangerous or polluting by-products compared to the highly toxic and unstable hypergolic hydrazine fuel mix used by China’s current launch vehicles.

Long March 7 and cryogenic propellant test.
Above: The first Long March 7 being prepared for launch.

It could also potentially allow the engines to be made reusable in the future, something the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation - the main space programme contractor - is working on.

The liquid oxygen is cooled in the Long March 5 tanks to -183 degrees Celsius, according to Wang Xiaojun of CALT, before burning the propellant at around 3,000 degrees.

...Maiden launch live

The debut launch of Long March 5 is expected to be broadcast live by Chinese state media and streamed online. Though not yet announced, liftoff is expected around November 3. We'll post links for viewing this event when available.

Long March 5 being rolled out to the launch pad on October 28, 2016 (CASC).
Above: Long March 5 being rolled out to the launch pad on October 28, 2016 (CASC).

Quelle: gbtimes

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Update: 1.11.2016

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Long March 5 to make debut flight in early November

The first Long March 5 heavy-lift launch vehicle, carrying the YZ-2 upper stage and SJ-17 satellite, was rolled out to launch pad on 28 October.

China’s new-generation heavy-lift orbital launcher, the CZ-5 (Chang Zheng 5, or Long March 5), will make its maiden flight from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre, on Hainan Island, in early November.

As well as testing the launch vehicle itself, the mission will also place the Shijian 17 (SJ-17) technology experiment satellite into orbit, using the newly-developed YZ-2 (Yuan Zheng-2, or Expedition 2) upper stage.

Segments of the CZ-5 (Y1) launch vehicle were transported inside specially-made oversized containers by the Yuanwang 22 cargo ship to the Qinglan Port, in Sanya, Hainan Island on 22 August, kicking off the two-month launch campaign.

Launch vehicle assembly and payload integration were carried out inside the 15-storey, 99.4 metres-tall ‘501’ Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) inside the technical area of the Wenchang Space Launch Centre. Segments of the launch vehicle, including its first-stage, second-stage, and four strap-on boosters were hoisted into position by a crane inside the building.

cz-5_y1_rollout_15

The checkout of the SJ-17 satellite and YZ-2 upper stage was carried out inside the payload assembly building. The payloads enshrined within a two-piece payload fairing were transferred to the VAB for integration with the launcher on 19 October.

The rollout of the launch vehicle took place in the morning of 28 October, at around 08:25 CST. The CZ-5 launch vehicle and payload stack sitting vertically atop the Mobil Launcher Platform moved slowly on a 20-m-wide rail track. It took the platform over two hours to finish the 2,800 m journey from the VAB to Launch Complex 101, where the launch vehicle will be checked out, fuelled, and launched.

The CZ-5 is the most capable and complex launch vehicle ever introduced by China. The development of the launcher began in the early 2000s and took over 10 years to complete. The launcher is fitted with three types of cryogenic liquid engines, all of which are newly developed. The first-stage of the core vehicle is powered by two YF-77 engines burning liquid hydrogen (LH2) as fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) as oxidiser. The four strap-on stages are each powered by two single-chamber 1,340-kN YF-100 engines burning Kerosene as fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) as oxidiser. In together these engines produce 10,572 kN (1,078 tonnes) thrust at lift-off.

The second-stage of the CZ-5 is powered by two single-chamber YF-75D engines also burning the LOX/LH2 bi-propellant. This allows the launch vehicle to place up to 14 tonnes of payload to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).

The CZ-5 (Y1) launch vehicle in the upcoming test flight mission also carries a YZ-2 upper stage, designed to insert multiple payloads into different orbits, or place payload directly to Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) without the need to use the satellite’s own propulsion. The YZ-2 is similar in design to the YZ-1A upper stage first tested during the CZ-7 test fight mission in June this year, but features further improvements in performance and capability.

Although China’s space agency did not provide any detail on the SJ-17 satellite, some leaked information from the space industry suggests the satellite will be used to demonstrate ion propulsion and the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) technology required for in-orbit satellite refuelling and repair.

The combined mass of the YZ-2 upper stage and the SJ-17 satellite is estimated to be around 13 tonnes.

A LEO-mission version of the launch vehicle, named CZ-5B, is expected to make its debut flight in 2017.

cz-5_y1_rollout_11

Quelle: CSR

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Update: 3.11.2016

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Long March 5 heavy-lifter ready to join China’s rocket inventory

 

China is ready to debut a heavy-lifting rocket rivaling the biggest boosters in the world Thursday, paving the way for a backlog of missions to loft massive space station modules, send deep space probes to the moon and Mars, and perhaps deploy commercial satellites.

The Long March 5 rocket is bigger than anything else in China’s rocket inventory, and it closely matches the capacity of United Launch Alliance’s Delta 4-Heavy rocket, the largest existing rocket in the U.S. fleet.

The launcher is a leap in capability for China’s space program, which sees the Long March 5 as crucial to plans for a permanently-staffed space station, robotic sample return missions to the moon, a Mars rover, and hopes for China to gain a firmer foothold in the commercial launch industry.

China is revamping its Long March rocket family, successfully launching the Long March 6 light-class booster and the medium-lift Long March 7 rocket on inaugural flights in September 2015 and in June, respectively.

The Long March 5, with the power to hoist payloads more than twice as heavy as any other Chinese rocket, will round out the next-generation booster fleet. The new rockets eliminate the use of toxic propellants like hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, replacing them with more environmentally-friendly kerosene and hydrogen.

Launch crews rolled out the 187-foot-tall (57-meter) rocket Oct. 28 on a mobile launch platform, transferring the Long March 5 to its purpose-built launch pad at Wenchang, a new spaceport built on Hainan Island, just off the southern edge of the Chinese mainland, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

Once the Long March 5 arrived at the launch pad, located less than a half-mile (600 meters) from the beach, swinging platforms enclosed the rocket inside the 300-foot-tall (92-meter) gantry to protect the vehicle from the elements.

Technicians planned to conduct final preflight checks on the Long March 5 rocket ahead of its launch, which Chinese authorities have officially only said will occur some time in November.

But a notice to pilots released by Chinese aviation officials late Tuesday indicated the rocket could blast off as soon as Thursday at around 1000 GMT (6 a.m. EDT), or around 6 p.m. Beijing time.

China’s state-run media has not said if they plan any live coverage of the launch.

The rocket is expected to head east over the South China Sea bound for a geostationary-type orbit, but China has not disclosed the targeted flight profile for Thursday’s test launch.

The Long March 5 rolled out to its launch pad at Wenchang on Oct. 28. Credit: CALT
The Long March 5 rolled out to its launch pad at Wenchang on Oct. 28. Credit: CALT

The Long March 5 will lift off powered by 10 liquid-fueled engines mounted at the base of the launcher’s core stage and strap-on boosters. The engines will collectively generate around 2.4 million pounds of thrust at full throttle.

Chinese engineers who designed the Long March 5 clustered four liquid-fueled boosters, each powered by two YF-100 engines, around a core stage fitted with two YF-77 engines, China’s first booster-class rocket engines to burn super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as propellants.

The YF-100 engine, a more powerful model of Russia’s RD-120 rocket engine, consumes a mixture of rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen. The YF-100 engine can produce up to 270,000 pounds of thrust at sea level.

China acquired several RD-120 engines from Russia in the 1990s, and the YF-100 engine operates with oxygen-rich staged combustion, a closed propulsion cycle that minimizes propellant waste, resulting in a more efficient, but more complex, propulsion system.

The central stage’s two YF-77 engines, connected together with a structural thrust frame, each produce about 115,000 pounds of thrust at ground level, and up to 157,000 pounds of thrust in vacuum. The YF-77 is the largest hydrogen-fueled rocket engine ever built in China.

The YF-77 engines are flying for the first time, while China’s YF-100 engines successfully flew on the country’s Long March 6 and Long March 7 rockets on their maiden launches.

The Long March 5 rocket emerges from its assembly building at Wenchang. Credit: CALT
The Long March 5 rocket emerges from its assembly building at Wenchang. Credit: CALT

Two YF-75D engines are on the Long March 5’s second stage. The restartable expander cycle YF-75D is the latest upgrade to China’s long line of cryogenic hydrogen-fueled upper stage engines, which first flew on a space mission in 1984.

On Thursday’s launch, the Long March 5’s liquid-fueled boosters should burn for around three minutes before their release to fall into the South China Sea. The YF-77 engines on the core stage are rated to fire for more than eight-and-a-half minutes, according to presentations by Chinese engineers at international aerospace conferences.

Chinese officials have not revealed exact timeline or the orbit to be reached on the Long March 5’s maiden flight, but the rocket may carry a Yuanzheng space tug designed to inject satellites directly into geostationary orbit, a more than 22,000-mile-high (nearly 36,000-kilometer) circular loop around Earth’s equator often used by communications satellites.

An experimental satellite named Shijian 17 is stowed inside the Long March 5’s nose shroud to conduct an electric propulsion demonstration in orbit.

Chinese engineers have studied a heavy-lift booster since the 1990s, and China officially announced plans to develop the Long March 5 in early 2001. Full-scale development of the new YF-77 engine began in 2002.

China broke ground on a new rocket factory for the Long March 5 and Long March 7 in the port city of Tianjin in 2007, when officials hoped to launch the Long March 5 for the first time in 2013.

The maiden flight slipped to 2014, then 2015, before winding up in late 2016.

Cutaway schematic of the Long March 5 rocket. Credit: CALT
Cutaway schematic of the Long March 5 rocket. Credit: CALT

One of the challenges faced by machinists and engineers was the fabrication of the Long March 5’s large tanks, requiring new tools and techniques to master the precision needed to weld and assemble the rocket’s 16-foot-diameter (5-meter) core, according to state media reports.

The diameter of the Long March 5’s main stage is 50 percent wider than China’s other rockets. Engineers needed to widen the rocket tanks to accommodate a larger load of hydrogen fuel.

China has at least two basic variants of the Long March 5 on the drawing board.

The version selected for the maiden test flight has a second stage for geostationary and interplanetary missions. China says it is capable of delivering a payload of up to 14 metric tons, or nearly 31,000 pounds, to geostationary transfer orbit, nearly identically matching the lift capability of ULA’s Delta 4-Heavy and exceeding that of the European Ariane 5 rocket.

A shorter configuration without the second stage, named the Long March 5B, could place up to 25 metric tons, or 55,000 pounds, into low Earth orbit several hundred miles up, just shy of the Delta 4-Heavy’s capacity to the same orbit.

If Thursday’s test flight goes well, the Long March 5 could be cleared to launch China’s Chang’e 5 robotic moon mission next year to retrieve lunar samples and return them to Earth.

Another Long March 5 mission as soon as 2018 will put the centerpiece of China’s planned space station in low Earth orbit. The Tianhe 1 module will be joined by at least two other research labs to complete the space station by 2022, when it will host astronauts from China, and perhaps Europe and Russia, for six-month stays.

A precursor to the space station named Tiangong 2 is currently in orbit with two Chinese astronauts on-board. The crew is about halfway through a planned 33-day mission.

China is also developing a Mars orbiter and rover scheduled for liftoff on a Long March 5 booster in 2020.

Quelle: SN

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Update: 12.15 MEZ

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And (numerous) non-official word the Long March 5 debut has been scrubbed for the day.

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