14 December 2019
A Long March 5 rocket is expected to blast off from a site in southern China this month carrying not only a next-generation communications satellite, but the hope that the mission will restore pride in the programme after a series of setbacks. One of the sources who confirmed the plan said that the atmosphere at Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the northern tip of Hainan Island was “so tense there seems to be a shortage of oxygen”.
Wu Yansheng, the president and Communist Party secretary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, flew to Wenchang last month to work with technicians. “The CZ-5 launch … is the biggest political [duty] of the corporation at present,” he was quoted as saying.