Long March 5

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Long March 5
Long March 5 Y2 transporting to launch site
Function Heavy orbital launch vehicle
Manufacturer CALT
Country of origin China
Height 57 m (187 ft)
Diameter 5 m (16 ft)
Mass 867,000 kg (1,911,000 lb)
Stages 2
Payload to LEO (200 km × 400 km × 42°) 25,000 kg (55,000 lb)
Payload to GTO 14,000 kg (31,000 lb)
Payload to TLI 8,200 kg (18,100 lb)
Associated rockets
Family Long March
Launch history
Status Active
Launch sites Wenchang LC-1
Total launches 3
Successes 2
Failures 1
First flight 3 November 2016[1][2]
Last flight 27 December 2019 [3]
Boosters – CZ-5-300
No. boosters 4
Length 27.6 m (91 ft)
Diameter 3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Gross mass 155,700 kg (343,300 lb)
Propellant mass 144,000 kg (317,000 lb)
Engines 2 × YF-100
Thrust SL: 2,400 kN (540,000 lbf)
Vac.: 2,680 kN (600,000 lbf)
Total thrust 9,600 kN (2,200,000 lbf)
Specific impulse SL: 300 seconds (2.9 km/s)
Vac: 335 seconds (3.29 km/s)
Burn time 180 seconds
Fuel RP-1/LOX
First stage – CZ-5-500
Length 31.7 m (104 ft)
Diameter 5 m (16 ft)
Gross mass 175,600 kg (387,100 lb)
Propellant mass 158,300 kg (349,000 lb)
Engines 2 × YF-77
Thrust SL: 1,020 kN (230,000 lbf)
Vac: 1,400 kN (310,000 lbf)
Specific impulse SL: 310.2 seconds (3.042 km/s)
Vac: 430 seconds (4.2 km/s)
Burn time 480 seconds
Fuel LH2/LOX
Second stage – CZ-5-HO
Length 10.6 m (35 ft)
Diameter 5 m (16 ft)
Gross mass 22,200 kg (48,900 lb)
Propellant mass 17,100 kg (37,700 lb)
Engines 2 × YF-75D
Thrust 176.52 kN (39,680 lbf)88.26
Specific impulse 442 seconds (4.33 km/s)
Burn time 700 seconds
Fuel LH2/LOX
Third stage – YZ-2(Optional)
Diameter 3.8 m (12 ft)
Engines 2 x YF-50D
Thrust 6.5 kN (1,500 lbf)
Specific impulse 316 seconds (3.10 km/s)
Burn time 1105 seconds
Fuel N2O4/UDMH

Long March 5 (LM-5, CZ-5, or Changzheng 5) is a Chinese heavy lift launch system developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). CZ-5 is the first Chinese vehicle designed from the ground up to focus on non-hypergolic liquid rocket propellants.[4] Currently, two CZ-5 vehicle configurations are planned, with maximum payload capacities of ~25,000 kilograms (55,000 lb) to LEO[5] and ~14,000 kilograms (31,000 lb) to GTO.[6] The Long March 5 roughly matches the capabilities of American EELV heavy-class vehicles such as the Delta IV Heavy. It is currently the most powerful member of the Long March rocket family.

On its first launch from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Center on 3 November 2016, the CZ-5 placed its payload in a suboptimal but workable initial orbit.[7] Its second launch on 2 July 2017 failed due to an engine problem in the first stage.

After an interval and redevelopment of almost two and a half years, the Long March 5 vehicle's return to flight mission (third launch) successfully occurred on December 27, 2019 with the launch and placement of the experimental Shijian-20 communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, thereby for the time opening the way for China's planned Mars mission, lunar sample-return mission, and modular space station[3], all of which require the lifting capabilities of a heavy lift launch vehicle.


Since 2010, launches of rockets in the Long March series have made up 15–25% of all space launches globally. Growing domestic demand has maintained a healthy manifest. International launch contracts have been secured through a package deal that bundles the launch with a Chinese satellite, circumventing the U.S. embargo.[8]

China's main objective in 2007 for initiating the new CZ-5 launcher was to fulfill its requirement for large payload capacities on LEO and GTO missions during the next 20–30 years. Formal approval of the Long March 5 program occurred in 2007 following two decades of feasibility studies when funding was finally granted by the Chinese government. The rocket was expected to be manufactured at a facility in Tianjin, a coastal city near Beijing[5], while launch was predicted to occur at the new Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southernmost island province of Hainan.[5]

As of July 2012, development of a new 1,200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engine to be used on the Long March 5 boosters progressed to the point where it was test-fired.[6][9] New photos of CZ-5 undergoing tests were released in March 2015.[10]

The first production CZ-5 was shipped from the port of Tianjin in North China to Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island on 20 September 2015 for launch rehearsals involving the probe for the future Chang'e-5 lunar mission.[11]. The first test flight of the CZ-5 was initially scheduled for 2014, but this subsequently slipped to 2016.[12]

The final production and testing of the first CZ-5 rocket to be launched into orbit were completed at its Tianjin manufacturing facility on or about 16 August 2016 and the various segments of the rocket were shipped to the launch center on Hainan island shortly thereafter.[13]

Design and specifications

The chief designer of CZ-5 is Mr. Li Dong of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The CZ-5 family will include three primary modular core stages of 5.2-m diameter (maximum). The total length of the vehicle is 60.5 metres and its weight at launch is 643 tons, with a thrust of 833.8 tons. Boosters of various capabilities and diameters ranging from 2.25 metres to 3.35 metres would be assembled from three modular core stages and strap-on stages. The first stage and boosters would have a choice of engines that use different liquid rocket propellants: 1,200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engines or 500 kN thrust LOX/LH2. The upper stage would use improved versions of the YF-75 engine.

Engine development began in 2000–2001, with testing directed by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) commencing in 2005. Versions of both new engines, the YF-100 and the YF-77, had been successfully tested by mid-2007.

The CZ-5 series can deliver ~23 tonnes payload to LEO or ~13 tonnes payload to GTO (geosynchronous transfer orbit).[14] It will replace the CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 series in service, as well as provide new capabilities not possessed by the previous Long March rocket family. The CZ-5 launch vehicle would consist of a 5.0-m diameter core stage and four 3.35-m diameter strap-on boosters, which would be able to send a ~25 tonne payload to low earth orbit (LEO).

Six CZ-5 variants were originally planned,[15][16] but the light variants were cancelled in favor of CZ-6 and CZ-7 family launch vehicles.[citation needed]

Version CZ-5 CZ-5B
Boosters 4×CZ-5-300, 2×YF-100 4×CZ-5-300, 2×YF-100
First stage CZ-5-500, 2×YF-77 CZ-5-500, 2×YF-77
Second stage CZ-5-HO, 2×YF-75D --
Third stage (optional) Yuanzheng-2 --
Thrust (at ground) 10565 KN 10565 KN
Launch weight 867 t 837 t
Height 62 m 53.66 m
Payload (LEO 200 km) -- ~25 t[17]
Payload (GTO) ~14 t[17] --
Version CZ-5-200 CZ-5-320 CZ-5-522 CZ-5-540
Boosters -- 2×CZ-5-200, YF-100 2×CZ-5-200, YF-100; 2×CZ-5-300, 2×YF-100 4×CZ-5-200, YF-100
First stage CZ-5-200, YF-100 CZ-5-300, 2×YF-100 CZ-5-500, 2×YF-77 CZ-5-500, 2×YF-77
Second stage CZ-YF-73, YF-73 CZ-5-KO, CZ-5-HO, 2×YF-75D CZ-5-HO, 2×YF-75D
Third stage (not used for LEO) -- CZ-5-HO, YF-75 -- --
Thrust (at ground) 134 Mgf (1.34 MN) 720 Mgf (7.2 MN) 824 Mgf (8.24 MN) 584 Mgf (5.84 MN)
Launch weight 82 t 420 t 630 t 470 t
Height (maximal) 33 m 55 m 58 m 53 m
Payload (LEO 200 km) 1.5 t 10 t 20 t 10 t
Payload (GTO) -- 6 t 11 t 6 t

Notable launches

First flight

The launch was planned to take place at around 10:00 UTC 3 November 2016, but several issues, involving an oxygen vent and chilling of the engines, were detected during the preparation, causing a delay of nearly three hours. The final countdown was interrupted three times due to problems with the flight control computer and the tracking software.[18] The rocket finally launched at 12:43 UTC.[19] According to an internet blogger on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, a minor problem occurred during flight and the rocket put the YZ-2 upper stage and satellite into an orbit that was less accurate than expected. However, the trajectory was corrected with the YZ-2 upper stage and the payload was inserted into the desired orbit.[20]

Second flight

Its second launch on 2 July 2017 experienced an anomaly shortly after launch and was switched to an alternate, gentler trajectory. However, it was declared a failure 45 minutes into the flight.[21][22] The cause of the failure was confirmed by CASC and related to an anomaly which happened on one of the YF-77 engines in the first stage.[23]

Return to flight (third flight)

After the failure of the previous flight, the root cause of the failure was identified to be located in one of the core stage's YF-77 engines (specifically, in the oxidizer's turbo-pump[3].) A redesigned YF-77 engine was test-fired in 2018 by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)[24]. At the time, the launch date for the vehicle's return to flight was estimated to be in January 2019[25]. However, new problems in the redesigned engine were discovered during further testing, causing additional delays. After repeated cancellations and delays, the launch date for the return to flight mission (Y3,) was set for December 27th, 2019.[26]

The Y3 mission of the Long March 5 program was launched on December 27, 2019, at about 12:45 UTC (7:45 EST) from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan, China. CASC declared the mission a success within an hour of launch, after the Shijian-20 communications satellite was placed in geostationary transfer orbit, thus marking the Long March 5 program's return to flight. [3]

Fourth flight (CZ-5B)

The fourth flight of the Long March 5 program will also be the debut of the CZ-5B variant. The configuration of the CZ-5B variant consists of the Long March 5 core stage with its four strapped-on liquid-fueled boosters, but the usual second stage will be absent; in place of the second stage would be heavier low earth orbit payloads, such as components of the future modular space station. The China Manned Space Engineering Office announced on January 20, 2020 that the first CZ-5B rocket has completed its manufacturing and testing phases in Tianjin, China and will be shipped to Hainan Island in early February 2020 in anticipation of a possible April 2020 launch. The rocket will carry a prototype of China's future deep space crewed spacecraft; the prototype craft on this flight will be uncrewed and will conduct on-orbit maneuvering and high speed atmospheric reentry tests with a flight profile similar to that of the United States Orion spacecraft's Exploration Flight Test 1 in December 2014. As of January 20, 2020, the prototype spacecraft has already arrived at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island [27]

Launch history

Past launches

Flight № Date (UTC) Launch site Upper stage Payload Orbit Result
Y1 3 November 2016
Wenchang LC-1 YZ-2 Shijian 17 GEO Success
Y2 2 July 2017
Wenchang LC-1 None Shijian 18 GTO Failure
Y3 27 December 2019
Wenchang LC-1 None Shijian 20 GTO Success

Planned launches

Flight № Date (UTC) Launch site Upper stage Payload Orbit Result
LM5B Y1 April 2020[27][28] Wenchang LC-1 None Test flight for a new-generation crewed spacecraft LEO Planned
Y4 23 July 2020[28][29] Wenchang LC-1 None Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover TMI Scheduled
Y5 Q4 2020[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Chang'e 5, lunar sample return TLI Planned
Q2 2021[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Tianhe, space station core module LEO Planned
2021[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Wentian, space station experiment module 1 LEO Planned
2022[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Mengtian, space station experiment module 2 LEO Planned
2024[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Chang'e 6, lunar sample return TLI Planned
2024[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Xun Tian, space telescope LEO Planned
2024[28] Wenchang LC-1 None SPORT (Solar Polar Orbit Telescope) Heliocentric Planned

See also


  1. ^ "Successful Launch of Long March-5 Rocket". CCTV. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "China conducts Long March 5 maiden launch". NASASpaceflight.com. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Jones, Andrew. "Successful Long March 5 launch opens way for China's major space plans". spacenews.com. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 rocket". AirForceWorld.com. 12 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "Long March 5 Will Have World's Second Largest Carrying Capacity". Space Daily. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b Space.com staff (30 July 2012). "China Tests Powerful Rocket Engine for New Booster". Space.com. The more capable Long March 5 rocket is expected to help the country achieve its goal of constructing a space station in orbit by the year 2020, as well as play a key role in China's future space exploration aims beyond low-Earth orbit. The rocket's maiden launch is expected to occur in 2014
  7. ^ Foust, Jeff. "Long March 5 launch fails". Spacenews. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  8. ^ Henry, Caleb (22 August 2017). "Back-to-back commercial satellite wins leave China Great Wall hungry for more". SpaceNews.
  9. ^ Additional engine test-firings have taken place in July of 2013.David, Leonard (15 July 2013). "China Long March 5 Rocket Engine Test". Space.com. Chinese Rocket Engine Test a Big Step for Space Station Project
  10. ^ Errymath. "First released picture of Long March 5 (CZ-5) Heavy Rocket". Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  11. ^ "China to rehearse new carrier rocket for lunar mission". English.news.cn. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  12. ^ spaceflightnow Archived 24 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 30 September 2016
  13. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 rocket ready to launch". AirForceWorld.com. 17 August 2015.
  14. ^ a b Xiang, Meng; Tongyu, Li. "The New Generation Launch Vehicles In China" (PDF). International Astronautical Federation. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  15. ^ Harvey, Brian (2013). China in Space: The Great Leap Forward. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 364. ISBN 978-1-4614-5043-6.
  16. ^ Zhao, Lei (21 April 2016). "6 versions of LongMarch 5 rocket inworks". usa.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  17. ^ a b c Kyle, Ed. "CZ-5 Data Sheet".
  18. ^ 罪恶大天使 (4 November 2016). "长征五号首飞纪实" [The first flight of the Long March 5]. Sina Weibo (in Chinese). Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  19. ^ "China launches Long March 5, one of the world's most powerful rockets". SpaceFlightNow.com. 3 November 2016.
  20. ^ 大脚丫的汤婆婆 (4 November 2016). "远征二号是两次点火,第一次近地点附近点火..." [Yuanzheng-2 ignited twice, with the first ignition near the perigee...]. Sina Weibo (in Chinese). Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Chinese rocket launch fails after liftoff". CNN. 3 July 2017.
  22. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (2 July 2017). "Long March 5 suffers failure with Shijian-18 launch". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Casc Confirms Cause Of Long March 5 Failure". Aviation Week. 2 March 2018.
  24. ^ "China test fires YF-77 rocket engine ahead of return-to-flight of Long March 5". Global Times. 28 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 heavy-lift launcher ready for January 2019 comeback flight". GBTimes.com. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  26. ^ https://m.weibo.cn/detail/4443949391356221
  27. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (24 January 2020). "Prototypes for new Chinese crew capsule and space station arrive at launch site". SpaceFlightNow.com. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pietrobon, Steven (30 January 2019). "Chinese Launch Manifest". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  29. ^ "China to launch Mars probe in July". ChinaDaily.com. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.

External links

  • Media related to Long March 5 at Wikimedia Commons

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