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China launches classified Shijian satellites into the orbit with landmark Long March deployment

ByRoman Frąckiewicz

Dec 16, 2021

The Shijian-06 (05) set of satellites was launched by a Long March 4B on December 9, commemorating the 400th flight of China’s Long March series of launch vehicles. At 7:11 p.m. Eastern, the Long March 4B got lifted off from Site 9401 of Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, climbing into the dark blue desert sky.

The Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite Co., Ltd. and China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) produced the Shijian-6 (05) satellites, that might be a pair of spaceships to join four prior pairs spaceships in series, with the latest launch coming in 2010. As per the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the satellites will be utilized for the space environment exploration as well as technology verification tests. The satellites’ images have not been made public.

Shijian-6 satellites are thought to be developed for electronic intelligence or signals intelligence, according to Western assessments of this series and their 585-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbits. The Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), just like CAST, is a significant CASC affiliate that provided the Long March 4B. The launcher is powered by a hypergolic propellant and has a payload capacity of 2,800 kg in Sun-synchronous orbit.

The mission was China’s 49th orbital deployment of the year, setting a new national milestone for activity in a calendar year. Long March rockets have been used for the most majority of launches, with additional deployments from commercial companies such as iSpace, Expace, and Galactic Energy.

The 400th Long March rocket was launched on December 9. The Chinese counterpart of the phrase GOAT, or “the greatest of all time,” was coined by the official space industry journal China Space News to commemorate the Long March achievement. The relative rapidity with which the new landmark was accomplished exemplifies China’s recent fast acceleration of its launch pace.

On April 24, 1970, the very first Long March was launched. When the Long March 3A propelled Xinnuo-3 in June 2007, it took 37 years to deploy the very first 100 Long March rockets. After a period of 7.5 years, in December 2014, the 200th launch took place. In addition, after a period of 3.5 years, in March 2019, the 300th launch took place, indicating that the last 100 launches were completed in less than two years and nine months.

According to CASC, the Long March rocket series has been credited for 92.1% of China’s orbital deployments in 51 years since the country’s first launch, launching over 700 spacecraft with a 96.25 percent launch success record. In comparison, SpaceX, a private American company, has launched more than 130 Falcon 9 rockets since 2010, with only one failure as well as one incomplete failure, while also constructing and demonstrating first-stage reusability.

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