Long March-5B, China’s most powerful carrier rocket, made its maiden flight on May 5, successfully sending the trial version of the country’s next-generation manned spacecraft and a cargo return capsule for space testing, state media announced.
At 6 pm on the coast of southern China’s island province of Hainan, the white large rocket blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre. (Beijing Time), announced by state-run news agency Xinhua, citing China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
The experimental manned spacecraft without crew, along with the test version of the cargo return capsule, separated with the rocket about 488 seconds later and reached the intended orbit. The successful flight opens the “third phase” of China’s manned space program, which is to construct a space station, the CMSA said.
Specially designed for China’s manned space program, Long March-5B will be used primarily to launch the space station modules, it said. The building of China’s space station is moving a step forward, a senior space official said, with the successful maiden flight of its latest large carrier rocket.