BEIJING — A Long March-5 carrier rocket on Sept 20 was shipped from North China’s Tianjin port for a rehearsal of a scheduled Chang’e-5 lunar mission around 2017.
It will be the first drill carried out in a launch site that involves both the carrier rocket and a probe, said the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. It did not locate the launch site.
The Long March-5 carrier rocket was designed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It is scheduled to make its first trial flight in 2016.
With a payload capacity of 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit, the largest carrying capacity in China, the rocket will greatly increase China’s ability to enter space.
China plans to launch its Chang’e-5 lunar probe carried by the Long March-5 carrier rocket around 2017 to finish the last chapter in China’s three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration program.
Chang’e-5 is expected to achieve several breakthroughs, including automatic sampling, ascending from the moon without a launch site and an unmanned docking 400,000 kilometers above the lunar surface.