Long March 5B delayed to 2019?


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In this article touting the release of a propaganda commercial by China’s human spaceflight center, there was this short tidbit about the status of the Long March 5, grounded since a failed launch in July.

The 1.5 stage Long March 5B, designed for the task, has yet to fly. Its maiden flight was delayed by the failure last July of the 2.5 stage Long March 5, which launches missions to geosynchronous orbits as well as lunar and interplanetary missions.

Should a return-to-flight of the Long March 5 late this year be successful, the Long March 5B will debut in 2019 before then launching the Tianhe core module from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre.

This quote illustrates the techniques used by a secretive Soviet style nation that wishes to hide its problems. Until July 2017, when the Long March 5 failed on its second flight, there was never anything called the Long March 5B. Long March 5 was the rocket that was going to launch China’s space station modules. Now that it appears that significant changes to the rocket are required to fix it, suddenly the Long March 5B is described as the rocket that was “designed for the task” of launching the space station, not Long March 5. Long March 5 was only a first version, and the real rocket that will launch the station will debut in 2019.

“Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.”

Meanwhile, the propaganda commercial being touted, supposedly releasing never-before seen video showing astronaut training, is almost entirely made-up of staged footage, very carefully and dramatically lit. I would guess that it contains less than 15 seconds of live documentary footage, out of the 3:44 minute film.

None of this criticism here is aimed at the Chinese engineering. In fact, it is a good thing that they have recognized the problems with Long March 5 and are fixing them. It is also a good thing that they remain determined to continue their space program. I just think it necessary for everyone to recognize propaganda when they see it. When you do, you find out that the real story here is that they appear to be delaying somewhat the launch of their space station because of the delays necessary to fix Long March 5.

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