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Satnews Daily
August 29th, 2016

A Long March Sea Voyage

Photo of China's Long March 5 launch vehicle.

China's most technologically advanced launch vehicle has departed from the Tianjin port and is being shipped by the Yuanwang 21 and Yuanwang 22 space ferries to Hainan for placement and pre-flight operations prior to its scheduled launch toward the end of this year.

The Long March 5 rocket, developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT), will support the nation's efforts to place their manned space station into orbit as well as to empower unmanned flights to Mars. The rocket has a maximum payload capacity of 25 metric tons for LEO and 14 tons for GEO, similar in scope to the Delta IV and Atlas V rockets used by the US. The propellant will be liquid oxygen kerosene and liquid oxygen hydrogen.

There will ultimately be six differing configurations of the Long March 5 to accommodate various payload demands. The rocket has a liftoff weight of 25 metric tons and is the most advanced launch vehicle yet developed by China. However, CALVT is also now working on what they refer to as a super heavy rocket that will possess a liftoff weight of 3,000 metric tons with the ability to push a 100 metric ton payload to LEO... rather impressive. The expectations are that this as-yet-unnamed rocket will endeavor a first flight sometime in 2030.