China investigates Long March 5 Y2 failure, prepares end-2018 launch of Y3

The Long March 5 Y2. Image courtesy of CNSA.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has determined that its heavy lift launcher, the Long March 5, crashed because of momentary decline in the engine’s thrust caused by localised anomalies in the structure of the exhaust system. On July 2, 2017, the Long March 5 was launched at the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan, but failed 346 seconds into the flight.

The Y3 will incorporate improved core-level liquid-hydrogen-oxygen engine that has successfully completed multiple ground tests to verify the effectiveness of the improvement measures.

At present, on the basis of comprehensively implementing fault improvement measures, the launch vehicle engineering development team plans to launch the Long March 5 Y3 towards the end of 2018.

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The Long March 5 Y4 is expected to launch China’s Chang’e-5 lunar probe in 2019, which is Phase III of the Lunar Exploration Project.


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