Archive for ‘commercial launches’


China’s new huge solid rocket booster completes test

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) — China announced Tuesday that the country’s new solid rocket booster, with 200-tonne thrust engine, completed hot firing tests, proving its readiness for commercial launches.

With a diameter of 2.65 meters, the booster engine is expected to be used on the modified version of the Long March-11 rocket. The rocket is the only series in the Long March family that uses solid propellants, and it can be launched within 24 hours.

Developed by the Academy of Aerospace Solid Propulsion Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, it will be China’s most powerful rocket booster engine, delivering a maximum thrust of 200 tonnes and the ability to carry as much as 71 tonnes of fuel.

It will have a carrying capacity of 1.5 tonnes for sun-synchronous orbit.

In 2009, the academy took the lead in China in developing a rocket booster engine for the Long March-11. The previous-generation, covered with a steel shell, was 2 meters in diameter, capable of 120 tonnes of thrust and could carry 35 tonnes of fuel.

To increase its carrying capacity and market competitiveness, the new booster is made using filament winding composite material, which is better and can be applied more widely than a metal shell, said Wang Jianru, chief designer of the booster.

The successful tests mark a milestone in developing a more efficient booster engine with cost advantage for China’s new-generation rocket, according to the design team.

China’s first seaborne rocket launch is scheduled for mid-2019, with a Long March-11 carrier rocket set to blast off in the Yellow Sea.

Source: Xinhua


China improves Long March-6 rocket for growing commercial launches

BEIJING, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — China announced Monday that it is developing the modified version of the Long March-6 rocket with four additional solid boosters to increase its carrying capacity.

The improved medium-left carrier rocket will be sent into space by 2020, according to the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC), which designed the rocket.

With a short launch preparation cycle, the Long March-6 has been mainly used for the academy’s commercial launches. The rocket completed two space tests in September 2015 and November 2017, carrying 20 satellites and three satellites, respectively.

The three-stage rocket is 29.3 meters long, with a launch weight of 103 tonnes. It has a carrying capacity of one tonne for sun-synchronous orbit.

Fueled by a liquid propellant made of liquid oxygen and kerosene, the Long March-6 is China’s first carrier rocket that uses non-toxic and non-polluting fuel.

Ding Xiufeng, executive manager of the Long March-6 project, said in response to the growing demand for commercial launches, they will have the rockets’ market competitiveness enhanced through technical improvements, so that they can provide easier, faster and more comprehensive services to users at home and abroad.

In January, the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, affiliated with the CASTC, signed a multiple launch services agreement with Satellogic to use the Long March-6 and the Long March-2 rockets to launch 90 satellites for a private Argentine company in the coming years.

The first 13 satellites will be delivered later this year. It will be the first time for the Long March-6 to provide launch services for an international user.

Source: Xinhua

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