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Transported to Wenchang! CZ-5B launch vehicle will make its maiden flight in mid to late April
One month after the Long March-5 Y3 launch vehicle was successfully launched, another member of the Long March 5 Series Launch Vehicle family-- Long March 5B launch vehicle started its first journey.
After a week's transport by land and sea, Long March 5B-Y1 launch vehicle arrived at Wenchang Satellite Launch Center safely on Feb 5, 2020. Later, it will be rehearsed at the launching site together with the prototype sample of the core module of space station arriving earlier. Then, it will have its first launching task in mid to late April to send the test spacecraft of the new generation of manned spacecraft to the space.
Long March 5B launch vehicle is a new type of large-scale launch vehicle developed through serialization, modularization and combination on the basis of Long March 5; it's also China's first large-scale launch vehicle with one and a half stage architecture (namely, one core + booster; the booster constitutes half of a stage). It's mainly used for the launch of large-scale spacecraft on near-earth orbits and bears the important task of launching sections of the manned space station.
Long March 5B launch vehicle has a total length of about 53.7 m; the core stage 1 has a diameter of 5m, with strap-on four boosters with a diameter of 3.35m. The fairing is 20.5m long with a diameter of 5.2m. It adopts nontoxic and pollution-free liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen and kerosene as the propellant. With a takeoff mass of about 849t and a near-earth orbit carrying capacity of greater than 22t, the launch vehicle has the biggest carrying capacity in near-earth orbit in China at present. Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology has developed four boosters of the launch vehicle.
▲ Diagram of Long March 5B Launch Vehicle
In response to the new configuration of the Long March 5B launch vehicle and the requirement for high reliability of the manned space station project, the development team made technological breakthroughs in a series of key technologies around the 20.5m long large-scale fairing and its separation.
The development of Long March 5B launch vehicle began in 2012. According to the development process of launch vehicles and the requirement for manned spaceflight project, it passed the review of transfer from a prototype sample to a test sample in November 2018 and entered the test sample development stage. On January 19, 2020, Long March 5B-Y1 launch vehicle passed the release review successfully.
At the launching site, Long March 5B launch vehicle will firstly have rehearsing together with the prototype sample of the core module of space station, with an aim to test the trial launch process of the station module section. According to the plan, after the rehearing at the launching site is finished, Long March 5B-Y1 launch vehicle will carry the test spacecraft of the new generation of manned spacecraft to make the first flight in mid to late April.
▲ Video: Long March 5B launch vehicle going to Hainan
It is learned that in 2020, Long March 5 Series Launch Vehicle will have three launch tasks. Long March 5B launch vehicle will launch the test spacecraft of the new generation of manned spacecraft, and Long March 5 launch vehicle will launch the Mars probe and Chang'e-5 probe.
At present, the work in the rehearsing stage at the launching site has been comprehensively carried out. Considering the current situation in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, the temporary party committee of the test team of the first launch task of Long March 5B has met the requirements of the group company and made specific plan according to actual conditions.
The test team set up an epidemic prevention leading group, established a fast response mechanism and emergency treatment plan for epidemic prevention work, and adopted a series of specific measures to realize strict personnel management, carry out protective measures, take better care of the team members, ensure the supply of medical protective materials and the logistics support to successfully prevent and control the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak and ensure the success of the rehearsing and maiden flight of Long March 5B launch vehicle.
Source: Official WeChat Account of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation