China make it two in a week via successful Shi Jian 11-02 launch

by Rui C. Barbosa

For the second time this week this week alone, China has launched a satellite – this time from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The Shi Jian 11-02 satellite was launch at 07:42UTC by a Long March 2C (Chang Zheng-2C) launch vehicle from the SLS-2 launch pad – as the Chinese prepare for a busy August.

Yet Another Chinese launch:

According to the Chinese media this mission involved an “experimental satellite”. However, what is known is this satellite was launched with the same launch azimuth of the Shi Jian 11-03, three weeks after the launch of the previous Shi Jian 11 satellite.

The satellite was developed by the DongFangHong Satellite Company of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

As with Shi Jian 11-01 and Shi Jian 11-03, the true mission of Shi Jian 11-02 was not revealed. Howeveer, some observers noted that the Shi Jian 11 series of satellites could be related with a constellation of operational early warning satellites.

‘Shi Jian’ translates into ‘Practice’, while this series of satellite have been used for a variety of configurations and missions, usually classed as for scientific research and technological experiments.

The CZ-2C Chang Zheng is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) launch vehicle derived from DF-5 ICBM, and can be launched from either the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center or the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

The rocket is a two stage hypergolic launch vehicle with a total length of 35.15 meters, a diameter of 3.35 meters and a total mass of 192,000 kg. The first stage is equipped with four YF-20A engines. Is has a length of 20.52 meters and a burn time of 122 seconds.

The second stage is equipped with one YF-22A engine, and has a length of 7.50 meters with a burn time of 130 seconds.

This launch was the 143rd Chinese orbital launch, the 142nd launch of the Chang Zheng launch vehicle family, the 48th orbital launch from the Jiuquan Satellite launch Center, and the 6th orbital launch from China this year.

Also known as the Shuang Cheng Tze launch center, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center was the first space center for Chinese satellite launches.

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.

It is also the location from where all the Chinese manned missions are launched. Presently, only the LA4 launch complex (with two launch pads – SLS-1 and SLS-2) is 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).

This launch comes when the Chinese launch schedule for 2011 enters its main phase of launches. Back in 2010, some Chinese specialists claimed the country was preparing to make 20 orbital launches in 2011. However, it now appears this number was adjusted, with some of the missions being delayed to 2012.

Anticipating the launch of TianGong-1 in September, China is schedule to make three orbital attempts in August. Affirming its position on the international launch market, China plans to launch on August 14th, Pakistan Independence Day, the PakSat-1R. 

This launch was contracted in October 2008 between SUPARCO and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation. Paksat-1R is based on the new DFH-4 platform.

The other launches planned in August include the launch of the First HY-2 Hai Yang-2 oceanographic satellite fom the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, prior to the launch of the Shiyan Weixing-4 and Chuang Xin-3 pair of spacecraft from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

(Photos via

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