On 27th February 2022 China claimed a domestic record for the most spacecraft launched by a single rocket by launching a ‘Long March-8 rocket’ to place 22 satellites in space from the ‘Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site’ in south China’s Hainan Province with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
- The mission marked the 409th flight of the Long March carrier rockets.
- These satellites will be mainly used for commercial remote sensing services, marine environment monitoring, forest fire prevention and disaster mitigation.
- China set a new domestic record of 55 launches in 2021, surpassing the previous record of 39 launches in 2018 and 2020.
i.In April 2021, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), a subsidiary of CASC, launched the first Long March Express rideshare using a Long March 6.
ii.In September 2021, a number of contracts for the new rideshare were signed at the Zhuhai Airshow .
About Long March 8:
i.The Long March 8 combines the 3.35-meter-diameter new-generation Long March 7 kerosene-liquid oxygen 1st stage with a 3-metre-diameter hydrolox 2nd stage from the older Long March 3A series.
ii.The 2nd Long March 8 has a length of 50.3 metres long and a mass at takeoff of 356 tons that flew without the pair of side boosters that was used in the rocket’s 1st mission.
iii.The payloads on the Long March 8 involved manufacturers with end users including 7 commercial companies and 2 research institutes.
i.Changguang Satellite Technology, a Changchun-based remote sensing constellation operator and spinoff from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ CIOMP, launched 10 new Jilin-1 satellites for its constellation of remote sensing satellites of the same name.
- Satellites – Jilin-1 GF03D10-18 satellites (GF – Gaofen) or high resolution, with 8 satellites having a mass of around 43 kilograms each. Jilin-1 MF02A01 is a 32-kilogram multi-functional (MF) satellite to test a new platform.
ii.Small satellite maker Mino space manufactured 5 satellites aboard the mission.
- Taijing-3 (01) 240-kilogram optical and Taijing-4 (01) 250-kilogram synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites will be operated by Mino space.
- It also made the Wenchang-1 (01) and Wenchang-1 (02) wide-field multispectral satellites for the Sanya Institute of Remote Sensing and Hainan Westar Remote Sensing Technology Application Service with a mass of 62.5 kilograms each.
- The Xidian-1 hyperspectral remote sensing satellite for the new Silk Road Tiantu constellation that is operated by Shaanxi Silk Road Tiantu Satellite Technology.
ii.Changsha-based commercial spacecraft maker and constellation operator ‘Spacety’ launched the Chaohu-1 satellite, the 1st of the planned Tianxian SAR constellation in cooperation with the China Electronics Technology Group (CETC).
- The 325-kilogram satellite builds on the Hisea-1 SAR satellite launched on the previous Long March 8 flight.
- Spacety also had the 14-kilogram Thor Smart Satellite on the mission that carries a distributed software protocol test payloads and three GRID gamma ray burst detectors and the Aurora-2 X-ray polarimeter.
iii.Tianqi-19, manufactured by Shandong Institute of Aerospace Electronics Technology for Guodian Gaoke and its Tianqi low-Earth orbit narrow-band Internet of Things constellation.
iv.Shenzhen Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite developed 60-kilogram Hainan-1 (01) and Hainan-1 (02) satellites under the ownership of CASC, for Hainan Westar Remote Sensing Technology Application Service.
- The satellites carry imagers and automatic identification system (AIS) receivers for maritime surveillance.
v.Star Era-17 (Xingshidai-17), also referred to as ‘Dayun’, the Chinese name for the Universiade international sports event to be held in 2022 in Chengdu, is a 20-kilogram satellite carrying visible light and thermal infrared imagers and ‘AI payloads’
- This is developed and operated by ADA Space, based in Chengdu, southwest China.
vi.Wuhan University developed the Phospherus-1, a 22-kilogram optical satellite for hyperspectral imaging.
Note – In February 2022 China launched the L-SAR 01B satellite on a Long March 4C, sending the synthetic aperture radar satellite to operate in formation with the L-SAR 01A satellite, which was launched in January 2022.
Recent related news:
China has successfully launched its 1st solar exploration satellite into space from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shanxi Province aboard a Long March-2D rocket.The satellite was named as ‘Xihe’(Xihe is the goddess of the sun who created the calendar in ancient Chinese mythology), also known as the Chinese Hα Solar Explorer (CHASE).
Capital – Beijing
Currency – Renminbi
President – Xi Jinping