Sunday, July 2, 2017

Second Chinese Long March-5 mission fails

The second launch of China's heaviest satellite launch vehicle, the new generation Long March-5 rocket failed on Sunday, casting big shadow on Chinese space ambitions.

An anomaly occurred during the Y2 flight of the rocket, which blasted off at 7:23 p.m. from Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern province of Hainan.

The rocket was carrying the 7.5 tonne Shijian-18 communication satellite into a 36,000 km apogee Geo-stationary orbit.

Something happened after separation of the four boosters, as the live launch coverage was abruptly stopped by state run Chinese media. The rocket has reportedly deviated from its flight path according to live tracking data displayed by China National Space Administration.

The Long March-5 successfully completed its maiden flight in November 2016 and was slated for a third launch later this year, carrying lunar probe Chang'e-5.

The Long March 5 is the heaviest of the three new generation modular rockets being developed by  China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation using the core stage and different combinations of strap-on boosters and an third upper stage.

While the Long March 6 is intended for launching small satellites, the Long March 7 will carry out Chinese space station support launches including crewed and resupply missions.

The LM-5 uses non-toxic and non-polluting propellants such as liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen and kerosene. The 879 tonne two-stage rocket with four strap-on rocket boosters is 57 m high and its core stage have a diameter of 5 m.

It is designed to carry a payload of 25 tonnes into low Earth orbit and 14 tonnes into GTO.