Long March 5

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 designed from the ground up to focus on non-hypergolic liquid rocket propellants.[3] Currently, two CZ-5 vehicle configurations are planned, with maximum payload capacities 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.

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

On its first launch from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Center on 3 November 2016, the CZ-5 placed its payload in a suboptimal but workable initial orbit.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]


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, the construction of the CZ-5 production plant began in the TEDA West area near Binhai New Area in Tianjin. The production facility was constructed near the harbor to reduce the logistical problems associated transporting rockets over land and allow easier transportation by sea from Tianjin to Wenchang Launch Facility on Hainan Island. The new production facility would have an area totaling more than half a million square meters and cost 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][9] New photos of CZ-5 and of its tests were released in March 2015.[10]

The first CZ-5 was shipped from the port of Tianjin in North China at 20 September 2015 for a rehearsal (some of the drills carried out at Wenchang Satellite Launch Center involved both the launch vehicle and a probe) of a scheduled Chang'e-5 lunar mission planned around 2017.[11] The first test flight was initially scheduled for 2014, but this subsequently slipped to 2016.[12]

First flight

The launch was planned to take place at around 10:00 UTC 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.[13] The rocket finally launched at 12:43 UTC.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16][17] 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.[18]

The YF-77 booster engine was test-fired in 2018 after CASC redesigned it.[19] The next Long March 5 launch date was estimated to be in January 2019,[20] Still, after repeated cancellations and delays, the next launch is expected to return to flight late in 2019, but not sure exactly when.[21]


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 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: 1,200 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.

The CZ-5 series can deliver ~23 tonnes payload to LEO or ~13 tonnes payload to GTO (geosynchronous transfer orbit).[22] It will replace the CZ-2, CZ-3, and CZ-4 series in service, as well as provide new capabilities not possessed by the previous Long March rocket family. 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 ~25 tonne payload to low earth orbit (LEO).

Six CZ-5 variants were originally planned,[23][24] but the light variants were cancelled in favor of CZ-6 and CZ-7 family launch vehicles.

In 2019, Russia offered China its technology to fix the current technical issues of Long March 5's cryogenic engines since “China urgently needs heavy-booster liquid-fuel rocket engines, of which Russia has some good offerings,” said by Zhou Chenming, a military analyst. [25]


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[26]
Payload (GTO) ~14 t[26] --
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

List of launches

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 27 December 2019 [27] Wenchang LC-1 YZ-2 Shijian 20 GTO Planned
Y4 Q4 2020[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Chang'e 5, lunar sample return TLI Planned
LM5B Y1 September 2020[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Test flight for a new-generation crewed spacecraft LEO Planned
23 July 2020[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover TMI Scheduled
2021[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Tianhe, space station core module LEO Planned
2021[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Wentian, space station experiment module 1 LEO Planned
2022[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Mengtian, space station experiment module 2 LEO Planned
2024[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Chang'e 6, lunar sample return TLI Planned
2024[28] Wenchang LC-1 None Xun Tian, space telescope LEO Planned
2024[28] Wenchang LC-1 None SPORT (Solar Polar Orbit Telescope) Heliocentric Planned

See also


  1. "Successful Launch of Long March-5 Rocket". CCTV. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  2. "China conducts Long March 5 maiden launch". NASASpaceflight.com. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  3. "Chinese Long March 5 rocket". AirForceWorld.com. 12 June 2015.
  4. "Long March 5 Will Have World's Second Largest Carrying Capacity". Space Daily. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  5. 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. Foust, Jeff. "Long March 5 launch fails". Spacenews. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  7. Henry, Caleb (22 August 2017). "Back-to-back commercial satellite wins leave China Great Wall hungry for more". SpaceNews.
  8. "Chinese Long March 5 rocket ready to launch". AirForceWorld.com. 17 August 2015.
  9. 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
  10. Errymath. "First released picture of Long March 5 (CZ-5) Heavy Rocket". Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  11. "China to rehearse new carrier rocket for lunar mission". English.news.cn. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  12. spaceflightnow Archived 24 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 30 September 2016
  13. 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.
  14. "China launches Long March 5, one of the world's most powerful rockets". SpaceFlightNow.com. 3 November 2016.
  15. 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.
  16. "Chinese rocket launch fails after liftoff". CNN. 3 July 2017.
  17. Barbosa, Rui C. (2 July 2017). "Long March 5 suffers failure with Shijian-18 launch". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  18. "Casc Confirms Cause Of Long March 5 Failure". Aviation Week. 2 March 2018.
  19. "China test fires YF-77 rocket engine ahead of return-to-flight of Long March 5". Global Times. 28 February 2018.
  20. "Chinese Long March 5 heavy-lift launcher ready for January 2019 comeback flight". GBTimes.com. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  21. He, Xing. "New update for LM 5". 航天爱好者网. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  22. Xiang, Meng; Tongyu, Li. "The New Generation Launch Vehicles In China" (PDF). International Astronautical Federation. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  23. Harvey, Brian (2013). China in Space: The Great Leap Forward. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 364. ISBN 978-1-4614-5043-6.
  24. Zhao, Lei (21 April 2016). "6 versions of LongMarch 5 rocket inworks". usa.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  25. Liu, Zhen. "Russia offers rocket engine tech as China's Long March 5 struggles to get off the ground". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  26. Kyle, Ed. "CZ-5 Data Sheet".
  27. https://m.weibo.cn/detail/4443949391356221
  28. Pietrobon, Steven (30 January 2019). "Chinese Launch Manifest". Retrieved 8 February 2019.

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