China rockets to forefront of global space race with sea launch success | World Defense

China rockets to forefront of global space race with sea launch success

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China rockets to forefront of global space race with sea launch success
  • China has become the first nation to fully own and operate a floating launch platform for its space missions
Stephen Chen
Published: 05 Jun, 2019

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China has successfully launched a rocket into space from the Yellow Sea, making it the first nation to fully own and operate a floating sea launch platform. Photo: China National Space Administration

China successfully launched a rocket into space from a civilian cargo ship at sea on Wednesday, becoming the first nation to fully own and operate a floating sea launch platform, a technology expected to significantly reduce the cost and risk of space missions.

A Long March 11WEY rocket blasted off from the ship in the Yellow Sea at noon Beijing time, according to the China National Space Administration.
About six minutes later, five commercial satellites and a pair of “technical experiment” probes – called Bufeng, or Wind Catchers – reached their designated orbits.

The Wind Catchers will work together to detect winds on the surface of the world’s oceans. They will boost China’s ability to monitor and forecast typhoons and other extreme weather events, according to the administration.

“Launching a rocket from the sea has the advantages of high flexibility, good adaptability for specific tasks, and excellent launch economy,” said a statement on the administration’s website.

“It can flexibly select the launch point and touchdown area to meet the needs of various payloads for different orbits, and provide better aerospace commercial launch services for countries along the belt and road,” it added, referring to the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s plan to grow global trade.

“Launching a rocket from the sea has the advantages of high flexibility, good adaptability for specific tasks, and excellent launch economy,” said a statement on the administration’s website.
“It can flexibly select the launch point and touchdown area to meet the needs of various payloads for different orbits, and provide better aerospace commercial launch services for countries along the belt and road,” it added, referring to the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s plan to grow global trade.

“Launching a rocket from the sea has the advantages of high flexibility, good adaptability for specific tasks, and excellent launch economy,” said a statement on the administration’s website.
“It can flexibly select the launch point and touchdown area to meet the needs of various payloads for different orbits, and provide better aerospace commercial launch services for countries along the belt and road,” it added, referring to the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s plan to grow global trade.

A maritime launch is also expected to reduce the risk of rocket debris falling into densely populated areas.
Chinese space launch sites are typically located inland for defence purposes.

China has built its sea launch capability mainly to bolster the commercial space sector, according to Chinese space authorities.
In this mission, the rocket was sponsored and named after WEY, a young luxury car brand by Chinese sports utility vehicle manufacturer Great Wall Motor.

Some cutting-edge car technology, such as new paint materials, will go into space for testing in the most extreme environments, according to state media reports.
The payloads include the Jilin 03A, the latest addition to a high-definition Earth observation satellite network, according to Changguang Satellite Technology Corporation, the satellite’s owner.

China successfully launched a rocket into space from a civilian cargo ship at sea on Wednesday, becoming the first nation to fully own and operate a floating sea launch platform, a technology expected to significantly reduce the cost and risk of space missions.

A Long March 11WEY rocket blasted off from the ship in the Yellow Sea at noon Beijing time, according to the China National Space Administration.
About six minutes later, five commercial satellites and a pair of “technical experiment” probes – called Bufeng, or Wind Catchers – reached their designated orbits.

The Wind Catchers will work together to detect winds on the surface of the world’s oceans. They will boost China’s ability to monitor and forecast typhoons and other extreme weather events, according to the administration.

“Launching a rocket from the sea has the advantages of high flexibility, good adaptability for specific tasks, and excellent launch economy,” said a statement on the administration’s website.

“It can flexibly select the launch point and touchdown area to meet the needs of various payloads for different orbits, and provide better aerospace commercial launch services for countries along the belt and road,” it added, referring to the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s plan to grow global trade.

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The Long March 11 is a four-stage, solid fuel rocket with a design similar to a ballistic missile. It can carry a payload of about 700kg to the Earth’s lower orbit.

The first two stages of the rocket dropped in open waters in the northern Pacific Ocean, according to the administration. The rocket was equipped with a flight suspension system in case of any abnormal situation, but none occurred.

“The rocket debris will not cause damage to surrounding waters,” the administration said.

The world’s first ocean rocket launch platform, the Sea Launch, was jointly built by companies from Russia, the United States, Norway and Ukraine in the late 1990s. Its operation was halted in 2014 after military conflicts broke out between Russia and Ukraine.

Li Hong, president of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, told state media in March that the Chinese rocket and launch platform were designed and owned entirely by China, so it would not have similar problems caused by international disputes as the Sea Launch.

The launch was expected to encounter many technical and engineering challenges, including simplified procedures for pre-launch testing, the rocking motion of the ship and heat dissipation in a confined space.

But Chinese space authorities have argued the inconvenience would be offset by numerous advantages. For instance, the technology would allow China to move its launch site to as far away as Hawaii for quicker, cheaper satellite insertion to certain orbits, according to Xinhua.

A maritime launch is also expected to reduce the risk of rocket debris falling into densely populated areas.

Chinese space launch sites are typically located inland for defence purposes.

China has built its sea launch capability mainly to bolster the commercial space sector, according to Chinese space authorities.

In this mission, the rocket was sponsored and named after WEY, a young luxury car brand by Chinese sports utility vehicle manufacturer Great Wall Motor.

Some cutting-edge car technology, such as new paint materials, will go into space for testing in the most extreme environments, according to state media reports.

The payloads include the Jilin 03A, the latest addition to a high-definition Earth observation satellite network, according to Changguang Satellite Technology Corporation, the satellite’s owner.

The company said the constellation, which will eventually comprise more than 20 satellites, would achieve global coverage for commercial applications.

One of the satellites launched on Wednesday belongs to Shanghai-based LinkSure Network, which has ambitious plans to provide free Wi-fi to everyone on the planet. The company has said it plans to eventually launch more than 200 satellites as part of the project.

 

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China launches four-stage rocket with satellites from Yellow Sea
By Elizabeth Shim
June 5, 2019


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Chinese soldiers march past a mobile rocket launcher on display at the Chinese Military Museum of the People's Revolution in Beijing. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

June 5 (UPI) -- China "successfully" sent into orbit a solid-fueled launch vehicle from the Yellow Sea, according to Chinese authorities.

China's National Space Administration stated Wednesday it had launched the Changzheng 11, a four-stage rocket carrying five commercial satellites and two "wind-measuring devices."

The launch comes at a time tensions are escalating with the United States over trade and defense. Over the weekend, China's defense minister accused Washington of destabilizing the Pacific.

The launch marks the first time China used an offshore platform to send the Changzheng 11 into orbit.

In January, China launched the same rocket with four satellites. The country has sent the rocket into the atmosphere a total of six times, not including the Wednesday launch.

"With the success of this rocket launch, China has filled a technological vacuum," CNSA said in its statement.

China is increasingly using its northeastern waters to test rockets; reports indicate China tested submarine-launched ballistic missiles in Bohai Bay, not far from North Korea, on Sunday.

Economic tensions with the United States have yet to subside as the Trump administration continues to ban equipment from tech firm Huawei.

On Wednesday, China appeared to be retaliating against U.S. companies, fining a Ford Motors joint venture, Changan Ford, $23.6 million, according to CNN.

The fine equals 4 percent of company sales in Chongqing in 2018.

Chinese authorities are claiming Changan Ford deprived downstream dealers of pricing autonomy, restricted competition and hurt the interests of consumers, according to the report.

The move comes soon after China said it is investigating FedEx, following claims from Huawei the delivery company diverted two packages for the firm's Chinese offices to the United States.

Ford's sales in China dropped 40 percent from 2017 to 2018.

 
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