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WENCHANG, China, Dec 17 — China’s newly-launched Long March-5 rocket has for the first time used an 18.5-meter-long fairing, setting a new height benchmark for China’s carrier rockets in commission.

The rocket, coded as Long March-5 Y6, blasted off at 9:41 p.m. (Beijing Time) from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the southern island province of Hainan on Friday, sending a high-orbit optical remote sensing satellite into its planned orbit.

The new fairing, which is 5.2 meters in diameter, is over 6 meters longer than the fairing of previous Long March-5 rockets, according to Zhu Haiyang, designer of the two-stage Long March-5 rocket that is developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

The longer fairing enhances the loading capacity and mission adaptability of Long March-5, and also makes its height exceed that of all Long March launch vehicles in commission.

In the next few years, the Long March-5 will enter a high-density launch cycle. The research team will further optimize the test and launch system relying on remote assistance to improve the test and launch efficiency.

The Long March-5 made its maiden flight in 2016.





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