Long March 11 launches multiple satellites

by Rui C. Barbosa

China launched its fourth Long March-11 rocket on Thursday, carrying a multiple small satellites into orbit. The launch took place from a mobile launch platform from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 04:42 UTC.

Chinese launch:

Onboard the LM-11 rocket was the OVS-2 upgraded version of Zhuhai-1 video satellite and four hyperspectral satellites from the OHS-2s series.

Developed by ZHUHAI ORBITA AROSPACE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD, the Zhuhai-1 earth observation satellites are the video component of the Chinese Orbital earth observation system. Two OVS-1 (OVS-1a and OVS-1b) satellites launched on June 16, 2017, constituted the prototype OVS-1 video component of the system. The operational Orbita constellation is to consist of video satellites (OVS-2), hyperspectral satellites (OHS-2) and small personal satellites (OPS-2).

A Chinese social media photo of the five satellites (as models) showing them stacked together.

The new up upgraded version of the previously launched video satellites has a resolution of 0.9 meters, which will greatly improve the spatial resolution and data acquisition capabilities of the previous satellites orbited in the system (with a resolution of 1.98 meters). Images obtained cover an area of 25km x 2.7km, approximately 67.5 square kilometers.

The four new hyperspectral satellites have a resolution of 10 meters. This is the first-generation of hyperspectral satellites launched by private enterprises in China, having a broad market potential. Images obtained cover an area of 140km×0.24km, approximately 33.6 square kilometers. The four satellites have a global coverage once every five days.

The OHS-1-01 satellite is also known as ‘Qingkeda-1’ and was developed in cooperation with the Qingdao University of Science and Technology. The OHS-1-03 satellite is also known as ‘Guiyang-1’.

The Long March-11:

The Long March-11 (Chang Zheng-11) is a small solid-fueled quick-reaction launch vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) with the goal to provide an easy to operate quick-reaction launch vehicle, that can remain in storage for long period and to provide a reliable launch on short notice.

LM-11 is a four stage solid-fueled launch vehicle equipped with a reaction control system on the fourth stage.

Long March 11 on a previous mission

The vehicle has a length of 20.8 meters, 2.0 meters in diameter and a liftoff mass of 58,000 kg. At launch it develops 120.000 kg/f, launching a 350 kg cargo into a 700 km SSO. The CZ-11 can use two types of fairing with 1.6 meters or 2.0 meters.

LM-11’s first launch took place on September 25, 2015, when successfully orbited the Pujiang-1 and the three Tianwang small sats from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

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 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.

Area 43 is the overall designation for the South Launch Area that is equipped with two launch pads: 91 and 94 (sometimes also designated 603). Launch Pad 91 is used for the manned program for the launch of the Chang Zheng-2F launch vehicle (Shenzhou and Tiangong). The 94 launch pad is used for unmanned orbital launches by the Chang Zheng-2C, Chang Zheng-2D and Chang Zheng-4C launch vehicles.

Other launch zones at the launch site are used for launching the Kuaizhou and the CZ-11 Chang Zheng-11 solid propellant 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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