Chinese Long March 2D lofts satellite duo

by Rui C. Barbosa

The Chinese have launched a Long March 2D rocket on Thursday morning, lofting the Chuangxin 1-04 and the experimental Ling Qiao satellites into orbit. Launch occurred at 00:15 UTC from the LC43/603 launch complex of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. As is the growing tradition with launches out of China, little information was released about the mission.

Chinese Launch:

On board the Long March 2D was the Chuangxin 1-04 store dump communication satellite from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ling Qiao experimental communication satellite from the Tsinghua University (Ling Qian means “agility” in Chinese).

The first Chuangxin 1 satellite was launched on October 21, 2003, together with the CBERS-2 satellite on the Long March-4B (Y4) launch vehicle from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

Chuangxin 1-02 was launched on November 5, 2008, joining as a passenger to the Shiyan Weixing-3 satellite on board the Long March-2D (Y12) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The the most recent Chuangxin-1 – the third in the family – was launched on November 20, 2011, with the Shiyan Weixing-3 satellite, also from Jiuquan on the Long March 2D (Y12).

This launch was the 192th Chinese successful orbital launch, also becoming the 66th successful orbital launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the third orbital launch from Jiuquan this year and the 4th Chinese orbital launch in 2014.

Launch Vehicle and Launch Site:

With its main commonality matched to the Long March 4B, the first stage has a 24.65 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter, consuming 183,340 kg of N2O4/UDMH (gross mass of first stage is 193.330 kg).

Z6The vehicle is equipped with a YF-21B engine capable of a ground thrust of 2,971 kN and a ground specific impulse of 2,550 Ns/kg. The second stage has a 10.40 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter and 38,326 kg, consuming 35,374 kg of N2O4/UDMH.

It includes a YF-22B main engine capable of a vacuum thrust of 742 kN and four YF-23B vernier engines with a vacuum thrust of 47.1 kN (specific impulses of 2,922 Ns/kg and 2,834 Ns/kg, respectively).

The third stage has a 4.93 meter length with a 2.9 meter diameter, consuming 12,814 kg of N2O4/UDMH. Having a gross mass of 14,560 kg, it is equipped with a YF-40 engine capable of a vacuum thrust of 100.8 kN and a specific impulse in vacuum of 2,971 Ns/kg.

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.

Long March 4CThe 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 Chang Zheng-2F launch vehicle (Shenzhou and Tiangong). The 603 launch pad is used for unmanned orbital launches by the Chang Zheng-2C, Chang Zheng-2D and Chang Zheng-4C launch vehicles.

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

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