Long March 5


Long March 5
Long March 5 Y2 transporting to launch site
FunctionHeavy-lift launch vehicle
Country of originChina
Height56.97 metres (186.9 ft)
Diameter5 metres (16 ft)
Mass878,556 kilograms (1,936,884 lb)
Payload to LEO
Altitude200 km × 400 km (120 mi × 250 mi)
Mass25,000 kilograms (55,000 lb)[1][2]
Payload to GTO
Mass14,000 kilograms (31,000 lb)[3][4]
Payload to TLI
Mass8,800–9,400 kilograms (19,400–20,700 lb)
Payload to GEO
Mass6,000 kilograms (13,000 lb)
Payload to SSO
Altitude700 km (430 mi)
Mass15,000 kilograms (33,000 lb)
Payload to SSO
Altitude2,000 km (1,200 mi)
Mass6,700 kilograms (14,800 lb)
Payload to MTO
Mass13,000 kilograms (29,000 lb)
Payload to TMI
Mass6,000 kilograms (13,000 lb)
Associated rockets
FamilyLong March
Launch history
Launch sitesWenchang, LC-1
Total launches
  • CZ-5: 4
  • CZ-5B: 1
  • CZ-5: 3
  • CZ-5B: 1
1 (CZ-5)
First flight
  • Long March 5:
    3 November 2016 [5][6]
  • Long March 5B:
    5 May 2020 [7]
Last flightActive
Boosters – CZ-5-300
No. boosters4
Length27.6 m (91 ft)
Diameter3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Gross mass155,700 kg (343,300 lb)
Propellant mass144,000 kg (317,000 lb)
Engines2 × YF-100
ThrustSL: 2,400 kN (540,000 lbf)
Vac.: 2,680 kN (600,000 lbf)
Total thrust9,600 kN (2,200,000 lbf)
Specific impulseSL: 300 seconds (2.9 km/s)
Vac: 335 seconds (3.29 km/s)
Burn time173 seconds
FuelRP-1 / LOX
First stage – CZ-5-500
Length33.16 m (108.8 ft)
Diameter5 m (16 ft)
Gross mass175,600 kg (387,100 lb)
Propellant mass158,300 kg (349,000 lb)
Engines2 × YF-77
ThrustSL: 1,020 kN (230,000 lbf)
Vac: 1,400 kN (310,000 lbf)
Specific impulseSL: 310.2 seconds (3.042 km/s)
Vac: 430 seconds (4.2 km/s)
Burn time492 seconds
FuelLH2 / LOX
Second stage – CZ-5-HO
Length11.54 m (37.9 ft)
Diameter5 m (16 ft)
Gross mass25,000 kg (55,000 lb)
Propellant mass17,100 kg (37,700 lb)
Engines2 × YF-75D
Thrust176.52 kN (39,680 lbf)
Specific impulse442 seconds (4.33 km/s)
Burn time700 seconds
FuelLH2 / LOX
Third stage – YZ-2 (Optional)
Diameter3.8 metres (12 ft)
Engines2 x YF-50D
Thrust6.5 kN (1,500 lbf)
Specific impulse316 seconds (3.10 km/s)
Burn time1105 seconds
FuelN2O4 / UDMH

Long March 5 (长征五号, LM-5, CZ-5, or Chang Zheng 5) is a Chinese heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). It is the first Chinese launch vehicle designed from the ground up to focus on non-hypergolic liquid rocket propellants.[8] There are currently two CZ-5 variants: CZ-5 and CZ-5B. The maximum payload capacities of the base variant is ~25,000 kilograms (55,000 lb) to LEO[9] and ~14,000 kilograms (31,000 lb) to GTO.[10] The Long March 5 roughly matches the capabilities of American NSSL heavy-lift launch vehicles such as the Delta IV Heavy. It is currently the most powerful member of the Long March rocket family and the world's third most powerful orbital launch vehicle currently in operation, trailing Delta IV Heavy and Falcon Heavy.[11]

The first CZ-5 launched from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Center on 3 November 2016 and placed its payload in a suboptimal but workable initial orbit.[12] The second CZ-5 rocket, launched on 2 July 2017, failed due to an engine problem in the first stage.

After an interval of almost two and a half years, the Long March 5 vehicle's return to flight mission (third launch) successfully occurred on 27 December 2019 with the launch and placement of the experimental Shijian-20 communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, thereby opening the way for China to proceed with its planned Tianwen 1 Mars mission, lunar Chang'e 5 sample-return mission, and modular space station[7], all of which require the lifting capabilities of a heavy lift launch vehicle.


Since 2010, Long March launches (all versions) have made up 15–25% of the global launch totals. Growing domestic demand for launch services has also allowed China's state launch provider to maintain a healthy manifest. Additionally, China had been able to secure some international launch contracts by offering package deals that bundle launch vehicles with Chinese satellites, thereby circumventing the effects of U.S. embargo.[13]

China's main objective for initiating the new CZ-5 program in 2007 was in anticipation of its future requirement for larger LEO and GTO payload capacities during the next 20–30 years period. 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. At the time, the new rocket was expected to be manufactured at a facility in Tianjin, a coastal city near Beijing[9], while launch was expected to occur at the new Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southernmost island province of Hainan.[9]

In July 2012, a new 1200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engine to be used on the Long March 5 boosters was test-fired by China.[10][14]

The first photos of a CZ-5, undergoing tests, were released in March 2015.[15]

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.[16]. The maiden flight of the CZ-5 was initially scheduled for 2014, but this subsequently slipped to 2016.[17]

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.[18]

Design and specifications

The chief designer of CZ-5 is Li Dong (Chinese: 李东) of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The CZ-5 family 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: 1200 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.[citation needed]

The CZ-5 series can deliver ~23 tonnes payload to LEO or ~14 tonnes payload to GTO (geosynchronous transfer orbit).[19] It will replace the CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 series in service, as well as provide new capabilities[clarification needed] not possessed by the previous Long March rocket family.[citation needed] 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 ~22 tonne payload to low earth orbit (LEO).

Six CZ-5 variants were originally planned,[20][21] 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 867,000 kg 849,000 kg [22]
Height 56.97 m 53.66 m
Payload (LEO 200 km) -- ~25,000 kg [23]
Payload (GTO) ~14,000 kg [23] --
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) 1.34 MN 7.2 MN 8.24 MN 5.84 MN
Launch weight 82,000 kg 420,000 kg 630,000 kg 470,000 kg
Height (maximal) 33 m 55 m 58 m 53 m
Payload (LEO 200 km) 1500 kg 10,000 kg 20,000 kg 10,000 kg
Payload (GTO) -- 6000 kg 11,000 kg 6000 kg

Notable launches

First flight

The launch was planned to take place at around 10:00 UTC on 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.[24] The rocket finally launched at 12:43 UTC.[25] 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.[26]

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.[27][28] 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.[29]

Return to flight (third flight)

Investigations revealed the source of the second flight's failure to be located in one of the core stage's YF-77 engines (specifically, in the oxidizer's turbo-pump[7]). A redesigned YF-77 engine was test-fired in 2018 by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).[30] At the time, the launch date for the vehicle's return to flight was estimated to be in January 2019.[31] 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 27 December 2019.[32]

The Y3 mission of the Long March 5 program was launched on 27 December 2019, at about 12:45 UTC 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.[7]

Fourth flight (CZ-5B)

The fourth flight of the Long March 5 program also marked the debut of the CZ-5B variant. The CZ-5B variant is basically equivalent to the Long March 5 core stage with its four strapped-on liquid-fueled boosters; in place of the usual second stage of the base configuration, it is anticipated that heavier low Earth orbit payloads, such as components of the future modular space station, would be carried by the 5B variant.

The first flight of the 5B variant ("Y1 mission") carried an uncrewed prototype of China's future deep space crewed spacecraft, and, as a secondary payload, an experimental cargo return craft: the Flexible Inflatable Cargo Re-entry Vehicle. The Y1 mission was launched on 5 May 2020, at 10:00 UTC from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan Island. CASC declared the launch a success after the payloads were placed in low Earth orbit.[33][34]

The flight's secondary payload, the experimental cargo return craft, malfunctioned during its return to Earth on 6 May 2020.[35] Nevertheless, the return capsule of the prototype next-generation crewed spacecraft, the flight's primary payload, successfully returned to the Dongfeng landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 05:49 UTC, on 8 May 2020. The prototype spacecraft flew in orbit for two days and 19 hours and carried out a series of apparently successful experiments and technology verifications.[36]

The Y1 mission's core stage, with a mass of about 20000 kg, was in an orbit with an inclination of 41.1° and eventually made an uncontrolled reentry at 15:33 UTC on 11 May 2020 over 20° W 20° N, as it flew over the Atlantic Ocean heading towards Nouakchott, Mauritania (some debris apparently survived reentry and landed in Côte d'Ivoire).[37] The Y1 mission's core stage may be the most massive object to make an uncontrolled re-entry since the Soviet Union's Salyut 7 space station in 1991 and the United States' Skylab in 1979.[38]

List of launches

Past launches

Flight № Date (UTC) Variant Launch site Upper stage Payload Orbit Result
Y1 3 November 2016
12:43 [6]
5 Wenchang, LC-1 YZ-2 Shijian 17 GEO Success
Y2 2 July 2017
5 Wenchang, LC-1 None Shijian 18 GTO Failure
Y3 27 December 2019
5 Wenchang, LC-1 None Shijian 20 GTO Success
5B-Y1 5 May 2020
10:00 [34][39]
5B Wenchang, LC-1 None Next-generation crewed spacecraft (success)
Test of flexible inflatable cargo re-entry vehicle (failure)
LEO Success
Y4 23 July 2020
04:41 [40]
5 Wenchang, LC-1 None Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter, lander and rover TMI Success

Planned launches

Flight № Date (UTC) Variant Launch site Upper stage Payload Orbit Status
Y5 November 2020 [39] 5 Wenchang, LC-1 None Chang'e 5, lunar sample-return TLI Planned
5B-Y2 Q2 2021 [39] 5B Wenchang, LC-1 None Tianhe, space station core module LEO Planned
5B-Y3 2021 [39] 5B Wenchang, LC-1 None Wentian, space station experiment module 1 LEO Planned
5B-Y4 2022 [39] 5B Wenchang, LC-1 None Mengtian, space station experiment module 2 LEO Planned
Y6 2024 [39] 5 Wenchang, LC-1 None Chang'e 6, lunar sample-return TLI Planned
5B-Y5 2024 [39] 5B Wenchang, LC-1 None Xun Tian, space telescope LEO Planned
Y7 2024 [39] 5 Wenchang, LC-1 None SPORT (Solar Polar Orbit Telescope) Heliocentric Planned

See also


  1. ^ Mu, Xuequan. "China's largest carrier rocket Long March-5 makes new flight". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  2. ^ Lifang. "China to launch Long March-5B rocket in 2019". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  3. ^ Mu, Xuequan. "China's largest carrier rocket Long March-5 makes new flight". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  4. ^ Lifang. "China to launch Long March-5B rocket in 2019". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Successful Launch of Long March-5 Rocket". CCTV. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b "China conducts Long March 5 maiden launch". NASASpaceflight.com. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 rocket". AirForceWorld.com. 12 June 2015. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d "Long March 5 Will Have World's Second Largest Carrying Capacity". Space Daily. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  10. ^ a b Space.com staff (30 July 2012). "China Tests Powerful Rocket Engine for New Booster". Space.com.
  11. ^ Mosher, Dave. "China's wildly ambitious future in space just got a big boost with the successful launch of its new heavy-lift rocket". Business Insider. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  12. ^ Foust, Jeff. "Long March 5 launch fails". Spacenews. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  13. ^ Henry, Caleb (22 August 2017). "Back-to-back commercial satellite wins leave China Great Wall hungry for more". SpaceNews.
  14. ^ Additional engine test-firings took place in July 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
  15. ^ Errymath. "First released picture of Long March 5 (CZ-5) Heavy Rocket". Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  16. ^ "China to rehearse new carrier rocket for lunar mission". English.news.cn. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  17. ^ spaceflightnow Archived 24 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 30 September 2016
  18. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 rocket ready to launch". AirForceWorld.com. 17 August 2015. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  19. ^ a b Xiang, Meng; Tongyu, Li. "The New Generation Launch Vehicles In China" (PDF). International Astronautical Federation. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  20. ^ Harvey, Brian (2013). China in Space: The Great Leap Forward. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 364. ISBN 978-1-4614-5043-6.
  21. ^ Zhao, Lei (21 April 2016). "6 versions of LongMarch 5 rocket inworks". usa.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  22. ^ http://french.peopledaily.com.cn/n3/2020/0506/c31357-9687050.html - 6 May 2020 - 8 May 2020
  23. ^ a b c Kyle, Ed. "CZ-5 Data Sheet".
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "China launches Long March 5, one of the world's most powerful rockets". SpaceFlightNow.com. 3 November 2016.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "Chinese rocket launch fails after liftoff". CNN. 3 July 2017.
  28. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (2 July 2017). "Long March 5 suffers failure with Shijian-18 launch". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  29. ^ "Casc Confirms Cause Of Long March 5 Failure". Aviation Week. 2 March 2018.
  30. ^ "China test fires YF-77 rocket engine ahead of return-to-flight of Long March 5". Global Times. 28 February 2018.
  31. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 heavy-lift launcher ready for January 2019 comeback flight". GBTimes.com. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  32. ^ https://m.weibo.cn/detail/4443949391356221
  33. ^ "China's first Long March 5B rocket launches on crew capsule test flight". SpaceFlightNow.com. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/06/experimental-chinese-cargo-return-capsule-malfunctions-during-re-entry/ - 6 May 2020
  36. ^ http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/08/c_139041254.htm - 8 May 2020 - 9 May 2020
  37. ^ "Reentry". www.planet4589.org. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  38. ^ "U.S. military tracking unguided re-entry of large Chinese rocket". spaceflightnow.com. SFN. 9 May 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h Pietrobon, Steven (30 January 2019). "Chinese Launch Manifest". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  40. ^ Jones, Andrew (23 July 2020). "Tianwen-1 launches for Mars, marking dawn of Chinese interplanetary exploration". spacenews.com. Retrieved 23 July 2020.

External links

  • Media related to Long March 5 at Wikimedia Commons