China launched two new satellites for Pakistan on Monday, in the first of two Chinese launched scheduled for July 9.
The launch took place at 03:56 UTC from the LC43/94 launch complex at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center using a Long March-2C/SMA launch vehicle.
Onboard were the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) and the PakTES-1A satellite.
Operated by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), the PRSS-1 was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and is based on the CAST-2000 bus.
With a launch mass of 1,200 kg – the satellite will be used for land and resources surveying, monitoring of natural disasters, agriculture research, urban construction and providing remote sensing information for the Belt and Road region. Operational lifetime is 7 years at an altitude of 640 km.
The satellite is equipped with an imaging system with a ground resolution of 1 meter (pan-chromatic) and 4 meter resolution in multi-spectral mode observation.
This is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan and the 17th satellite developed by the CAST for an overseas buyer. The SUPARCO and the China Great Wall Industry Cooperation (CGWIC) signed an agreement for the development and launch of the PRSS-1 in 2016.
The CAST-2000 is a compact satellite platform characterized by its high performance, expandability and flexibility. It is fitted with an S-band TT&C sub-system, X-band data transmission sub-system and 3-axis attitude stabilization, and is able to offer highly precise control, large-range sway maneuver, flexible orbit maneuver, highly integrated housekeeping and highly efficient power supply.
Bus mass is 200 kg to 400 kg with a payload mass capacity of 300 kg to 600 kg. It has a 3-axis stabilization and a sway maneuver capability.
The platform can be used for Earth observation, technology demonstration, scientific exploration, Earth environmental exploration, meteorological research and application, communications and navigation.
The Pakistan Technology Evaluation Satellite (or PakTES-1A) was developed by SUPARCO, with its payload being developed by the Space Advisory Company (South Africa). The satellite had a launch mass of 285 kg and will be used for remote sensing observations. The satellite will be operational on a 610 km sun-synchronous orbit.
The Chang Zheng 2C (Long March 2C) is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) launch vehicle derived from DF-5 ICBM.
It can be launched from either the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center or the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, with some launched also taking place from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
The launch vehicle has three configurations. The basic two stage Long March-2C and the Long March-2C/SMA and the Long March-2C/SM, using upper stages.
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. It 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.
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.
The LC-43 launch complex, also known as South Launch Site (SLS) is equipped with two launch pads: 91 and 94. Launch Pad 91 is used for the manned program for the launch of the Long March-2F launch vehicle (Shenzhou and Tiangong). Launch Pad 94 is used for unmanned orbital launches by the Long March-2C, Long March-2D and Long March-4C launch vehicles.
Other launch zones at the launch site are used for launching the Kuaizhou, Kaituo and the Long March-11 solid propellant launch vehicles.
The first orbital launch took place on April 24, 1970 when the Long March-1 rocket launched the first Chinese satellite, the Dongfanghong-1 (04382 1970-034A).