Sea Launch launches Long March 11 with five Earth observation satellites

(ORDO NEWS) — The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) carried out the 13th launch of the Changzheng-11 (Chang Zheng 11 or CZ-11) launch vehicle to deliver five Jilin-1 Gaofen Earth observation satellites into sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).

This launch was the third launch of the CZ-11 (CZ-11H) from an offshore launch platform off the coast of China. The CZ-11H Y3 lifted off at 03:30 GMT on April 30 from the Tai Rui Launch Platform off the coast of China.

This was the 13th launch from China in 2022 and the 418th overall launch of the Chang Zheng series of rockets.

The CZ-11 is the first and only “Chang Zheng” solid rocket in service. The rocket was developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) as a cheap, simple and reliable launch vehicle for rapid launch. Due to the fact that all stages of the rocket are made on solid fuel, the CZ-11 can be stored and launched if necessary.

The rocket is classified as a small satellite launch vehicle capable of lifting 700 kg into low Earth orbit (LEO) and 350 kg into a 700 km SSO.

The rocket uses four stages with a thrust control system on the fourth stage. At the time of first launch, the first stage was the largest solid rocket engine developed by China as a first stage. On takeoff, the CZ-11 can generate 1,176 kN of thrust.

The height of the rocket itself is 20.8 meters with a diameter of 2.0 meters. The CZ-11 has two additional fairings, 1.6 meters and 2.0 meters.

When launched from an offshore launch platform, the CZ-11 is designated CZ-11H. This time the CZ-11H used the Tai Rui launch platform. The platform measures approximately 110 meters by 80 meters. Tai Rui was located off the coast of Shanghai at 123.8E 32.2N.

This mission launched the Jilin-1 Gaofen (High Resolution)-03D satellite suite. Satellites 04 to 07 were launched along with one Jilin-1 Gaofen-04A satellite.

Jilin-1 Gaofen-03D is a 42 kg satellite designed for narrow-field imaging of the Earth’s surface. These satellites use new cameras, designs and electronic systems to reduce cost and weight. The Jilin-1 Gaofen-03D satellite will receive images with an accuracy of 0.75 meters.

The satellites will be launched at the SSO at an altitude of about 535 km. Because of the five satellites on board, the mission was called “one arrow and five stars.”

After the launch of 138 satellites, the entire constellation will provide round-the-clock, all-weather and full-spectrum data collection to provide geospatial information and services with high temporal and spatial resolution.

Several more CZ-11 missiles are expected to be launched this year. Five to eight launches are planned for 2022, including up to three offshore launches.

CZ-11 will soon be seriously upgraded. The missile, dubbed the CZ-11A, will feature a new 2.4-meter first stage to increase its payload capacity. The CZ-11A missile will make its first launch at the end of 2022.

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