top of page
  • Satellite Evolution

Launch of third Long March-5B raises issue of responsible conduct in space, says GlobalData

Following the news that the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) has delivered the Long March 5B (LM-5B) rocket intended to carry the second module of China’s space station to orbit; Harry Boneham, Aerospace Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view.

“Delivery of the Long March 5B (LM-5B) demonstrates China’s commitment to developing a leading domestic space industry. China is among a select group of states capable of operating its own space station. GlobalData’s report, ‘Space Systems in Aerospace and Defense – Thematic Research’, notes that the LM-5B has been specifically designed to allow China to construct, man, and supply a space station.

“However, the news does raise the issue of responsible conduct in space. By design, the core stage of the LM-5B reaches orbit rather than falling away in the Earth’s atmosphere. Consequently, the two previous launches have resulted in uncontrolled re-entries as the core stage naturally falls out of orbit, risking catastrophic damage on the ground.”

“It is extremely difficult to predict accurately where and when the core stage will make its re-entry, making it challenging to guarantee safety. Going forward, as launches become more frequent, uncontrolled re-entries are not a sustainable practice. Aside from risking causing damage to life and property, the practice invites international condemnation due to the disregard shown for the security of fellow countries. It remains to be seen how China can mitigate the risks caused by the LM-5B’s design, but with the LM-9 not expected until 2030 some action is required.”

Information taken from GlobalData’s report: Space Systems in Aerospace and Defense – Thematic Research


bottom of page