Long March-5 milestone signals new era for Chinese space exploration

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/28 9:25:40

Photo: Xinhua

 China's Long March-5 carrier rocket was successfully launched at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan Province on Friday. Standing at an impressive 57 meters tall and with a diameter of 5 meters, the rocket will send a test satellite into planned orbit. The endeavor marks a significant leap forward since the carrier rocket's maiden mission in 2016 and through a failed attempt in 2017. 

Friday's flawless blast off was a confidence booster for the rocket's reliability and officially marked China's entrance into a new era of aviation technology. 

Chinese astronauts have nicknamed the rocket "The Fat Five." The rocket can haul a 25-ton payload to low Earth orbit, 1.5 times more than the main Long March series. Space exploration hinges on rocket thrust capabilities. With the technological breakthroughs achieved in the Long March-5, China now occupies a more prominent position in space exploration and will experience changes in its strategic plans for space industry development. China now has the resources to send bigger and heavier materials into space that will allow for greater accomplishments than ever before.

The launch has enabled China to set new goals for Moon and Mars explorations and beyond. Chinese scientists will have the resources to achieve dreams that were once unimaginable as China emerges as the new pioneer and decisive force within the global aerospace industry.

It is worth noting the rocket's development encountered failure along its journey to where it stands today. The Long March-5 Y2 was unsuccessful. During the Cold War, space industry development was primarily a political issue as serious failures did not hinder investment. Today, space exploration ambition is different. No matter in which country, launch failures can spark negative public opinion. However, Chinese society has remained rational on the issue of scientific exploration. The positive mindset has made the success of the Long March-5 possible despite the setbacks. Chinese society's overall attitude led to the success of the Long March-5 Y3 soon after. Such distinction is the equivalent to the success of the Long March-5 Y3.

It would be unnecessary to compare the Long March-5 with the heavy US-made rockets.  For example, the SpaceX Falcon is the product of fresh technology, however, the Long March-5 marks a significant advance in the carrier rocket industry. It's a milestone achievement in high-tech research and proves China's determination to advance space exploration innovation.

Of course, it is necessary to see and acknowledge that in aerospace there is still a big gap between China and the United States currently. The US company SpaceX's active Falcon heavy rocket has a carrying capacity of 68 tons, which is much larger than that of the Long March-5. Besides, the US is also far ahead in the breadth and depth of aerospace research. For China, obviously, there's so much to do and so many gaps to fill in.

Although the launch was successful, the technology behind it will need further updates to reach a level of maturity. China's aerospace industry will demand larger carrier rockets to reach its goal of deeper space exploration. There is no doubt the industry will experience difficult challenges related to science and technology development.

The success of Friday's launch is a reflection of Chinese perseverance in the face of challenges. It is also the result of the rational support it has received from the Chinese community as investment continues to increase in the market economy. In other words, China has acquired such comprehensive capabilities to advance its space industry through modern mechanisms. With such capabilities, every goal in the future will represent a step forward for China.

The carrier rocket is symbolic of Chinese society. It is a demonstration of the country's strength and ability to coordinate resources necessary to achieve breakthroughs. With this advantage, China will overcome obstacles and difficulties as it continues to rise and rejuvenate. When China needs to remove the shackles of development, it will always rely on such advantages. 

Last but not least, every major achievement relied on contributions from multiple talents. Assembling a team with members from every relevant field garners a level of respect within the space industry. 

The Chinese are intelligent, hardworking and traditionally patriotic. As long as Chinese talents are respected and provided with a positive working environment, they can create more miracles and help the country secure its leading competitive edge throughout the 21st century. 

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