Satnews Daily
September 21st, 2015

China's Long March 5 Set To Start Rehearsal For Moon Shot

China's Long March 5 rocket.

[SatNews] Yesterday, Sunday, shipping from China's Tianjin port in the northern portion of the country was a Long March 5 rocket that will be involved in a scheduled rehearsal for Chang'e 5's lunar mission, which could occur during 2017.

This will be the first drill carried out in a launch site that involves the carrier rocket and a probe, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, but no launch site was named. Designed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Long March 5 is going to be undertaking a first trial flight during 2015. This carrier rocket possesses a  capacity of 14 tons and is intended to place payloads in geostationary transfer orbit—this is the largest carrying capacity of any Chinese rocket.

China plans to launch its Chang'e-5 lunar probe carried by the Long March-5 carrier rocket around 2017 to complete the final chapter in China's three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration program.

The Chang'e-5 is expected to achieve several breakthroughs, including automatic sampling, ascending from the moon without a launch site and an unmanned docking that will occur 400,000 kilometers above the lunar surface.