Chinese Long March 2D launches Shiyan Weixing-5

by Rui C. Barbosa

The Chinese were back in action again on Monday, launching the Shiyan Weixing-5 (SW-5) satellite via their Long March 2D rocket. Launch occurred at 02:12 UTC from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.


Chinese Launch:

As previous launches from China, little information was released about this mission.

SW-5 uses the CAST-100 satellite platform and is possibly related to the medium size rapid surveying earth observation satellite platform that can house optical, SAR and other payloads for rapid target acquisition.

This was featured in one news article early in 2013 while mechanical tests were being performed on SW-5.

The first Shiyan satellite was launched on April 18, 2004, by a Long March-2C rocket from the Xichang satellite Launch Center.

This was China’s first experimental digital imaging system capable of stereo Earth-terrain mapping, also testing the digital imaging capability for the then new generation of Chinese military reconnaissance spacecraft in development.

Similar to Shiyan-1, Shiyan-2 was launched on November 18, 2004, also from Xichang and using a Long March-2C launch vehicle. Shiyan-3 and Shiyan-4 were both launched from Jiuquan. Both satellites were experimental vehicles with digital imaging system capable of stereo Earth-terrain mapping. Shiyan-3 was launched on November 5, 2008, and Shiyan-4 was launched on November 20, 2011.

Both satellites didn’t travel alone on their Long March-2D launch vehicles, which also launched the mini ‘store and forward’ communication satellites Chuangxin-1 developed by CAS (China Academy of Science), Shanghai Academy of Space Technology and Shanghai Telecomm.

This launch was the 186th Chinese successful orbital launch and the 185th launch of a Long March launch vehicle, also becoming the 63rd orbital launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the seventh orbital launch from Jiuquan this year and the 12th Chinese orbital launch in 2013.

The Chang Zheng-2D launch vehicle is a two-stage rocket developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. With storable propellants is mainly used to launch a variety of low earth orbit satellites.

The development of CZ-2D was started in February 1990. From 2002, to meet the demand of SSO satellites, the payload fairing of 3350mm in diameter and attitude control engine for second stage have been successfully developed; and the discharge of remaining propellant and de-orbit of the second stage have been realized.

This launcher is mainly used for launching LEO and SSO satellites.

The CZ-2D can launch a 1,300 kg cargo in a 645 km SSO. The rocket is 41.056m long and the first, second stages and payload fairing are all 3.35m in diameter.

Its first stage is the same of the CZ-4 Chang Zheng-4. The second stage is based on CZ-4 second stage with an improved equipment bay. Lift-off mass is 232,250 kg, total length 41,056 meters, diameter 3.35 meters and fairing length 6.983 meters. At launch it develops 2961.6kN engine thrust.

The first stage has a 27.910 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter, consuming 183,200 kg of N2O4 / UDMH (launch mass of the first stage is 192,700 kg). Equipped with a YF-21C engine capable of a ground thrust of 2,961.6 kN and a ground specific impulse of 2,550 m/s. Burn time is 170 seconds.

The second stage has a 10.9 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter, launch mass of 39,550 kg and consuming 45,550 kg of N2O4 / UDMH. Equipped with a YF-24C cluster engine with a main engine vacuum thrust of 742.04 kN and a vernier engine with a vacuum thrust of 47.1 kN (specific impulses of 2,942 m/s and 2,834 m/s, respectively).

The CZ-2D can use two types of fairings depending of the cargo. Type A fairing has a 2.90 meters diameter (total launch vehicle length is 37.728 meters) and Type B fairing with a diameter of 3.35 meters – total launch vehicle length is 41.056 meters.

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

The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Ejin-Banner, a county in Alashan League of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was the first Chinese satellite launch center and is also known as the Shuang Cheng Tze launch center.

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 place from where all the Chinese manned missions are launched.

Presently, only the LC-43 launch complex, also known by South Launch Site (SLS) is in use. This launch complex is equipped with two launch pads: 921 and 603. Launch pad 921 is used for the manned program for the launch of the CZ-2F Chang Zheng-2F launch vehicle (Shenzhou and Tiangong).

The 603 launch pad is used for unmanned orbital launches by the CZ-2C Chang Zheng-2C, CZ-2D Chang Zheng-2D and CZ-4C Chang Zheng-2C launch vehicles.

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 Dongfanghong-1 (04382 1970-034A).

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