On Thursday, China successfully launched a massive rocket called Long March CZ-5 into space, which will be used to launch components for the Tiangong 2 space station and other payloads. It blasted off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. The precursor facility for the space station has been launched back in September and in October, it sent two astronauts to live in space for a month. This is part of an ambitious plan to own a permanent manned station service in 2022.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, although the main mission of the rocket launch was to test the reliability of Long March 5, it also carried a satellite for testing technology used to observe space debris, new electric sources and electric propulsion
The project has been delayed for years due to accidents and failures, with technological engineering problems bigger than what was expected by the mainland rocket scientists and technicians. However, according to a scientist involved in the project who requested anonymity, it "must be built, must be launched, must be a success. Otherwise the Chinese space program will always live as a dwarf in the shadow of giants."
Based on the calculations of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the rocket, which is composed of two stages that are 187 feet (57 meters) long, it can lift 27.6 tons (25 metric ton) of payload to the low-Earth orbit (LEO) and a total of 15.4 tons (14 metric tons) in father distance. This makes China's Long March 5 rocket almost the same to United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy launcher, America's current, most powerful rocket.
CASC also said that the rocket uses kerosene, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, moving away from more toxic propellants like hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, making it less expensive and environment-friendly.