China up the pace with another dual launch

by Rui C. Barbosa

China has launched its eighth orbital mission this year, orbiting two satellites via a CZ-2D Chang Zheng-2D (CZ2D-9) launch vehicle – from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center’s SLS-2 launch complex. The launch took place at 00:15 UTC on Thursday.

The Chuang Xin-1 (2) was developed by the China Academy of Sciences, and according to the state media will be used to collect and relay hydrological and meteorological data, while also providing disaster relief data.

The first Chuang Xin-1 (28058 2003-049B) satellite was launched piggyback on the CBERS-2 satellite on October 21, 2003 by a CZ-4B Chan Zheng-4B (CZ4B-6) from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

The second satellite on board was the Shiyan Weixing-3 technology demonstrator satellite, which will be used for experiments on new technologies in atmospheric exploration, according to its developer – the Harbin Institute of Technology.

This new technology test satellite is the first bird from the NewTec series, primarily designed to carry out in-orbit demonstration of new technologies and new products (Jishu Shiyan-1 – NewTec-1).

The CZ-2D Long March 2D launch vehicle is a two-stage rocket developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. Utilizing storable propellants, it is used to launch a variety of low earth orbit satellites. The CZ-2D can launch a 3,500kg cargo in a 200 km circular orbit.

The vehicle’s first stage is the same of the CZ-4 Chang Zheng-4, while the second stage is based on CZ-4 second stage with an improved equipment bay.

The first launch of the CZ-2D was on August 9, 1992 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, orbiting the Fanhui Shei Weixing FSW-2-1 (22072 1992-051A)
recoverable satellite.

This launch was the 113th Chinese orbital launch, the 39th orbital launch from the Jiuquan satellite launch Center, and the 2nd orbital launch from Jiuquan this year.

Also known as the Shuang Cheng Tzu launch center, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center was the first Chinese satellite launch facility.

The site includes a Technical Centre, two Launch Complexes, Mission Command and Control Centre, Launch Control Centre, propellant fuelling systems, tracking and communication systems, gas supply systems, weather forecast systems, and logistic support systems.

Jiuquan was originally used to launch scientific and recoverable satellites into medium or low earth orbits at high inclinations. The facility is also where all the Chinese manned missions are launched. Presently, only the LA4 launch complex (with two launch pads – SLS-1 and SLS-2) are in use.

The first orbital launch took place on April 24, 1970 when the CZ-1 Chang Zheng-1 (CZ1-1) rocket launched the first Chinese satellite, the Dong Fang Hong-1 (04382 1970-034A).

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