China has disclosed the cause of the failure of the Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket last July, revealing that a turbopump exhaust issue prevented the rocket reaching orbit.
Liquid rocket engine test firing in a ravine near Xi’an, north China (Credit: CCTV 9/Youtube/Framegrab)
The 5-meter-diameter, 57-meter-tall Long March 5 debuted successfully in November 2016 and is crucial to the country’s major human spaceflight and space exploration objectives.
These plans suffered a major setback on July 2 last year with the second launch of the Long March 5 from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center. The rocket and its Shijan-18 large experimental communications satellite payload crashed into the ocean following a loss of thrust 346 seconds after liftoff.
The State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), which oversees China’s space activities, released a report April 16 attributing the failure to a turbopump on one of two liquid-oxygen and kerosene YF-77 engines powering the rocket’s first stage/
The turbopump’s exhaust structure, according to SASTIND, failed while under “complex thermal conditions.”
Redesigned YF-77 engines have already been through hot fire testing at a site in a ravine near Xi’an in north China. The tests have verified the effectiveness of the ...