Long March 5

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Long March 5
Long March 5 Y2 transporting to launch site
FunctionHeavy orbital launch vehicle
Country of originChina
Height57 m (187 ft)
Diameter5 m (16 ft)
Mass867,000 kg (1,911,000 lb)
Payload to LEO (200 km × 400 km × 42°)25,000 kg (55,000 lb)
Payload to GTO14,000 kg (31,000 lb)
Payload to TLI8,200 kg (18,100 lb)
Associated rockets
FamilyLong March
Launch history
Launch sitesWenchang LC-1
Total launches2
First flight3 November 2016[1][2]
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 time180 seconds
First stage – CZ-5-500
Length31.7 m (104 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 time480 seconds
Second stage – CZ-5-HO
Length10.6 m (35 ft)
Diameter5 m (16 ft)
Gross mass22,200 kg (48,900 lb)
Propellant mass17,100 kg (37,700 lb)
Engines2 × YF-75D
Thrust176.52 kN (39,680 lbf)88.26
Specific impulse442 seconds (4.33 km/s)
Burn time700 seconds
Third stage – YZ-2(Optional)
Diameter3.8 m (12 ft)
Engines2 x YF-50D
Thrust6.5 kN (1,500 lbf)
Specific impulse316 seconds (3.10 km/s)
Burn time1105 seconds

Long March 5 (LM-5, CZ-5, or Changzheng 5) is a Chinese heavy lift launch system developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). CZ-5 is the first Chinese vehicle with a new design focusing on liquid rocket propellants from the ground up.[3] Currently, two CZ-5 vehicle configurations are planned for different missions, with a maximum payload capacity of ~25,000 kilograms (55,000 lb) to LEO[4] and ~14,000 kilograms (31,000 lb) to GTO.[5] The Long March 5 roughly matches the capabilities of American EELV heavy-class vehicles such as the Delta IV Heavy.

The CZ-5's maiden launch successfully occurred on 3 November 2016, from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Center on Hainan island. Its second launch on 2 July 2017 failed due to an engine problem in the first stage.


Since 2010, Long March launches have made up 15–25% of all space launches globally. Growing domestic demand has maintained a healthy manifest. International deals have been secured through a package deal that bundles the launch with a Chinese satellite, circumventing the U.S. embargo.[6]

The Chinese government approved the development of the Long March 5 rocket in 2007 following two decades of feasibility studies. It was to be manufactured at a facility in Tianjin, a coastal city near Beijing.[4] In 2008 the first launch of the Long March 5 was predicted to occur in Wenchang of the southernmost island province of Hainan, where a new satellite launch center was allegedly being constructed.[4]

The first CZ-5 rocket to be launched completed production and testing in Tianjin manufacturing facility around 16 August 2016 and shipped to the launch centre on Hainan island shortly after.[7]


The Chief Designer for the CZ-5 rocket was Long Lehao. The main objective for the CZ-5 rocket was to fulfill China's requirement for large payload to LEO and GTO missions for the next 20–30 years. The CZ-5 project was initially announced in February 2001, with initial development slated to begin in 2002 and the first versions of the vehicle to go into service by 2008. However, funding was only finally granted in 2007 as revealed by the developers during the Northeast China exhibition.

On 30 October 2007, construction for the CZ-5 production plant began in the TEDA West area near the Binhai New Area in Tianjin city. Building a completely new production facility that is close to the harbor will solve logistical problems associated with over-land transport of the large-sized rocket to launching centers. Instead, the rockets will be transported by sea from Tianjin to a new launch facility at Wenchang on Hainan Island. The new production facility would have an area totaling more than half a million square meters at the cost of RMB 4500 million (USD 650 million), with the first stage of the construction scheduled to be completed by 2009. When the production facility is completed in 2012, it would be capable of a maximum output of thirty CZ-5s annually. As of July 2012, development of the 1,200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engine was test fired.[5][8] New photos of CZ-5 and of its tests were released in March 2015.[9]

CZ-5 carrier rocket was shipped from North China's Tianjin port at 20 September 2015 for a rehearsal (some drills carried out in a Wenchang Satellite Launch Center that involves both the carrier rocket and a probe) of a scheduled Chang'e-5 lunar mission planned around 2017.[10] The first test flight was initially scheduled for 2014, but this subsequently slipped to 2016.[11]

Maiden flight[edit]

The launch was planned to take place at around 10:00 UTC, however several issues involving an oxygen vent and chilling of the engines were detected during the preparation which caused a delay of nearly 3 hours. The final countdown was interrupted three times due to problems with the flight control computer and the tracking software.[12] The rocket finally launched at 12:43 UTC.[13] Also, 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 easily corrected with the YZ-2 upper stage and the payload was inserted into the desired orbit.[14]

Second flight[edit]

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.[15][16] 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.[17]

YF-77 was put into test-fire in 2018 after CASC redesigned the engine.[18] Long March 5 was estimated to return to flight in January 2019,[19] but the launch date has subsequently been pushed back to July 2019.[20]


The chief designer of CZ-5 is Mr. Li Dong of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The CZ-5 family will include three primary modular core stages of 5.2-m diameter (maximum). The total length is 60.5 metres and the weight at launch is 643 tons, with a thrust of 833.8 tons. Boosters of various capabilities with diameters ranging from 2.25 metres and 3.35 metres would be assembled from three modular core stages and strap-on stages. There would be a choice of engines with different liquid rocket propellants: 1,200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engines or 500 kN thrust LOX/LH2 engines on first stage and boosters. The upper stage would use improved version of YF-75 engines.

Engine development began in 2000–2001, with testing directed by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) commencing in 2005. Versions of both new engines: YF-100 and YF-77 had been successfully tested by mid-2007.

The CZ-5 series will deliver ~23 tonnes payload to LEO, or ~13 tonnes payload to GTO (geosynchronous transfer orbit).[21] This would replace the CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 series in service, as well as providing new capabilities not possessed by current Long March rocket family. 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 ~25 tonne payload to low earth orbit (LEO).

Six CZ-5 variants were originally planned.[22][23] However the light variants were cancelled, in favor of CZ-6 and CZ-7 family launch vehicles.[citation needed]


In development
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 t 837 t
Height 62 m 53.66 m
Payload (LEO 200 km) -- ~25 t[24]
Payload (GTO) ~14 t[24] --
References: [21]
Proposed [24]
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) 134 Mgf (1.34 MN) 720 Mgf (7.2 MN) 824 Mgf (8.24 MN) 584 Mgf (5.84 MN)
Launch weight 82 t 420 t 630 t 470 t
Height (maximal) 33 m 55 m 58 m 53 m
Payload (LEO 200 km) 1.5 t 10 t 20 t 10 t
Payload (GTO) -- 6 t 11 t 6 t
References: [4]

List of launches[edit]

Flight № Date (UTC) Launch site Upper stage Payload Orbit Result
Y1 3 November 2016
Wenchang LC-1 YZ-2 Shijian 17 GEO Success
Y2 2 July 2017
Wenchang LC-1 YZ-2 Shijian 18 GTO Failure
Y3 July 2019[20] Wenchang LC-1 YZ-2 Shijian 20 GTO Planned
Y4 Q4 2019[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Chang'e 5, lunar sample return TLI Planned
LM5B Y1 Second half of 2019[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Test flight for a new-generation crewed spacecraft LEO Planned
23 July 2020[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover TMI Scheduled
2020[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Tianhe, space station core module LEO Planned
2021[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Wentian, space station experiment module 1 LEO Planned
2022[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Mengtian, space station experiment module 2 LEO Planned
2024[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Chang'e 6, lunar sample return TLI Planned
2024[20] Wenchang LC-1 None Xun Tian, space telescope LEO Planned
2024[20] Wenchang LC-1 None SPORT (Solar Polar Orbit Telescope) Heliocentric Planned

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Successful Launch of Long March-5 Rocket". CCTV. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "China conducts Long March 5 maiden launch". NASASpaceflight.com. 2016-11-03. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  3. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 rocket". AirForceWorld.com. 12 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Long March 5 Will Have World's Second Largest Carrying Capacity". Space Daily. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b Space.com staff (30 July 2012). "China Tests Powerful Rocket Engine for New Booster". Space.com. The more capable Long March 5 rocket is expected to help the country achieve its goal of constructing a space station in orbit by the year 2020, as well as play a key role in China's future space exploration aims beyond low-Earth orbit. The rocket's maiden launch is expected to occur in 2014
  6. ^ Henry, Caleb (August 22, 2017). "Back-to-back commercial satellite wins leave China Great Wall hungry for more". SpaceNews.
  7. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 rocket ready to launch". AirForceWorld.com. 17 Aug 2015.
  8. ^ Additional engine test-firings have taken place in July of 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
  9. ^ Errymath. "First released picture of Long March 5 (CZ-5) Heavy Rocket". Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  10. ^ "China to rehearse new carrier rocket for lunar mission". English.news.cn. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  11. ^ spaceflightnow Archived 24 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 30 September 2016
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "China launches Long March 5, one of the world's most powerful rockets". SpaceFlightNow.com. 3 November 2016.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Chinese rocket launch fails after liftoff". CNN. 3 July 2017.
  16. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (2 July 2017). "Long March 5 suffers failure with Shijian-18 launch". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Casc Confirms Cause Of Long March 5 Failure". Aviation Week. 2 Mar 2018.
  18. ^ "China test fires YF-77 rocket engine ahead of return-to-flight of Long March 5". Global Times. 28 Feb 2018.
  19. ^ "Chinese Long March 5 heavy-lift launcher ready for January 2019 comeback flight". GBTimes.com. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Pietrobon, Steven (30 January 2019). "Chinese Launch Manifest". Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  21. ^ a b Xiang, Meng; Tongyu, Li. "The New Generation Launch Vehicles In China" (PDF). International Astronautical Federation. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  22. ^ Harvey, Brian (2013). China in Space: The Great Leap Forward. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 364. ISBN 978-1-4614-5043-6.
  23. ^ Zhao, Lei (21 April 2016). "6 versions of LongMarch 5 rocket inworks". usa.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  24. ^ a b c Kyle, Ed. "CZ-5 Data Sheet".