BEIJING --- As the first spaceflight mission of China’s manned space station program, the Long March 5B carrier rocket is expected to make its maiden flight in the first half of 2020, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said on Tuesday.
The Long March5B is China’s new-generation carrier rocket with the greatest carrying capacity designed for low-Earth orbit (LEO). It will be used to carry the country’s space station modules into space.
At present, China’s manned space program has entered the space station era. According to the mission planning, the whole space station program is divided into three phases: key technologies validation, station construction and full operation.
In the first phrase, there will be six spaceflight missions including the maiden launch of the Long March5B carrier rocket and the launch of the core experimental module; while in the construction phase, spaceflight missions such as launches of the Wentian-I and Mengtian-II laboratory cabin modules will be carried out.