Workers at the Wenchang Space Launch Center began pumping fuel into a Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket that is set to be launched on Sunday, according to the China National Space Administration.

 

The fueling started at 4:30 pm Saturday at the Wenchang center in Hainan province, the administration said in a news release, noting the rocket will place the Shijian 18 communications satellite into orbit.

 

If the mission succeeds, it will mark the completion of the Long March 5's trial run, it noted.

 

As China's first-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Long March 5 has a liftoff weight of 870 metric tons, a maximum payload capacity of 25 tons to low Earth orbit and 14 tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

 

Its first flight was carried out in November at the Wenchang center.