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The Long March 5's first launch used a LH2/LOX main engine with four RP-1/LOX Liquid Rocket Boosters (LRBs). Is this the first time that RP-1/LOX LRBs have been used in a successful launch to orbit?

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above x2: Screenshots from the YouTube video shown below. Four RP-1/LOX LRBs emit bright white light while LH2/LOX main engine's exhaust is dimmer due to lack of thermal radiation from soot.

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above: Long March-5 from Chinaspacereport.

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No. The 4 Soyuz boosters are RP1/LOX, this is a design that goes back to the R-7 that launched Sputnik 1. Thousands have been launched.

Liquid boosters are a less common design than solids, but have been produced in greater numbers.

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  • $\begingroup$ You should add that the Soyuz booster design is directly derived from the first orbital launcher, the Sputnik R-7. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 4 '16 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ Well, technically, Soyuz uses RG-1, but I admit that "RP-1" is commonly used to refer to any kerosene rocket fuel, not just the specific US formulation. $\endgroup$ – TooTea Dec 29 '19 at 19:39
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No. The Energia used kerolox strapons.

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    $\begingroup$ Seem's I need to get a good book (or three) on rocket history and sit down and read them! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 4 '16 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ Well, Energia is a bit obscure, had a very short operational history, and not talked about much. Soyuz is the big counterexample. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Nov 4 '16 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ Starting point for reading more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_rocket_booster $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Nov 4 '16 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes I looked there before, the only place LOX/RP-1 is mentioned is the F-1, so I (erroneously is seems) assumed the LRB's mentioned were not LOX/RP-1. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 4 '16 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ the article is brief, but contains links to the main articles of each launcher, which contains more detail (although for Soyuz I had to use Google to confirm my memory). $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Nov 4 '16 at 13:59

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