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"Made-in-Chongqing" Aluminum Empowers Maiden Flight of the Long March 5B


On the Long March 5B rocket launched on May 5, and the test model hull of the new-generation manned spacecraft loaded in the rocket, over 80% of the aluminum alloy materials were provided by Southwest Aluminum (Group), including 5m-class integral ring, ultra-wide plank, and various other high alloy aluminum, according to the source from Southwest Aluminum (Group) of CHINALCO.


Southwest Aluminum workers hoist alloy aluminum rings. (Photo by Li Ying)

The Long March 5B is a new type of launch vehicle specially developed by China for the construction of a crewed spaceflight engineering space station, mainly undertaking primary space launch missions such as the launch of the space station module.

According to the person in charge of Southwest Aluminum (Group), over 90% of the aluminum alloy materials used in the Long March 5B were provided by CHINALCO, over 80% of which came from Southwest Aluminum (Group). The 5m-class and 3m-class aluminum alloy integral rings, and high alloy plates of various specifications produced by Southwest Aluminum (Group) have been used to produce the transition ring, adapter frame, storage box, and other key components of the Long March 5B.

What’s more, in terms of the test model hull of the new-generation crewed spacecraft loaded in the rocket, over 80% of the aluminum alloy materials were provided by Southwest Aluminum (Group). Those materials were used to produce the “skeleton” and skin of the spacecraft, rocket connecting piece and force piece, and other key components.

“Those high alloy aluminum materials feature various specifications, the large size of components, complex shapes, and great technological difficulty.” According to the responsible person, during the R&D and production of aluminum alloy, Southwest Aluminum (Group) has overcome many technological problems and scored scientific payoffs in fields such as casting, hot processing, and heat treatment.

To date, Southwest Aluminum (Group) has provided a great deal of key aluminum alloy materials to a host of major national projects, such as Shenzhou series of spacecraft, Chang’ e series of satellites, the Long March series of carrier rockets, Tiangong series of target aircraft, Xi’an Y-20 series of large military transport aircraft, and C919 home-made large aircraft.


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