China’s new reusable spacecraft landed on Sunday after a two-day test flight in Earth orbit, the official Xinhua news agency announced.
“The success indicated that China has achieved key breakthroughs in researching the spacecraft’s reusable technologies. It will provide more convenient and cheaper transport for the peaceful use of space in the future,” Xinhua said.
The spacecraft landed back at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center where it was launched aboard a Long March 2F booster on Friday.
China has not released any details about the spacecraft. It is possible the vehicle is similar to the U.S. military’s uncrewed X-37 space plane, which is launched aboard a rocket and glides to a landing on a runway.
A Chinese rocket launched a “reusable experimental spacecraft” into Earth orbit on Friday.
The Long March 2F booster lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
China has released no details about the vehicle. However, it could be similar to the U.S. military’s X-37B reusable space plane.
“After a period of in-orbit operation, the spacecraft will return to the scheduled landing site in China. It will test reusable technologies during its flight, providing technological support for the peaceful use of space,” the official Xinhua news agency said.
The Long March 2F rocket has been used to launch Shenzhou crewed spacecraft and two Tiangong space stations. This was the 14th launch of the booster.
China’s Kauizhou 11 booster failed on its maiden flight on Friday, destroying two satellites and dealing a setback to the nation’s commercial launch industry.
The three-stage, solid-fuel rocket apparently failed during the latter stages of flight after lift off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Chinese media said an investigation is under way.
Destroyed in the launch failure were the Jilin-1 video satellite and the CentiSpace-1-S2 navigation spacecraft.
Operated by Expace, the booster is a larger version of the Kauizhou 1A launcher. Kauizhou 11 is designed to launch payloads weighing 1,000 kg into sun synchronous orbit.
Expace is a commercial spin-off from the stage-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.
China has launched 19 times this year, with 16 successes and three failures. In March, the Long March 7A booster was destroyed during its maiden flight. A Long March 3B failed in flight the following month.
China launched the classified Shiyan-6 (02) reconnaissance satellite on Sunday, marking the country’s second successful launch in two days.
A Long March 2D rocket lofted the spacecraft into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said the satellite will be “mainly used to carry out space environment detection and related technical tests.” Western experts believe the description is used for reconnaissance satellites.
The launch was 338th of the Long March series of launch vehicles.
The successful flight came on the heels of another Chinese launch on Friday. A Long March 4B rocket launched the latest Gaofen civilian Earth imaging satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Northern China.
While the United States was focused last week on its first domestic flight of astronauts to orbit in 9 years, China was busy with a pair of launches that placed four satellites into space.
A Long March 11 booster launched the Xinjishu Shiyan-G and Xinjishu Shiyan-H technology test satellites from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Friday, May 29.
The Xinjishu Shiyan-G satellite was developed by the Shanghai Institute of Microsatellite Innovation, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The National University of Defence Technology developed the Xinjishu Shiyan-H satellite.
The satellites will test new Earth observation technology and inter-satellite communications.
On Sunday, a Long March 2D rocket launched the Gaofen-9 (02) remote sensing satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia.
The microwave spacecraft is the latest in a series of high-definition Earth observation satellites. Gaofen-9 (02) will be used for a variety of civilian purposes ranging from land use and urban planning to crop estimation and disaster prevention.
The Long March 2D booster carried the HEAD-4 technology and communications satellite as a secondary payload. The spacecraft is owned by HEAD Aerospace Tech Co. Ltd. of Beijing.
A Chinese Kuaizhou-1A rocket launched two Internet of Things (IoT) communications satellites into Earth orbit on Tuesday.
The rocket lifted off with the Xingyun-2 01 and 02 satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 9:16 a.m. Beijing time.
The spacecraft, developed by the Xingyun Satellite Co., will test IoT applications and inter-satellite laser communications while in orbit.
Kuaizhou-1A is a low-cost, solid-fuel rocket used to launch small satellites weighing up to 300 kg (661 lb). It was developed by ExPace, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC).
China launched its second Kuaizhou-1A booster in four days on Sunday, orbiting a pair of commercial Ka-band satellites.
The launch of the KL-a-A and KL-a-B satellites took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 6 p.m. Beijing time.
The Xinhua news agency described the payloads as “global multimedia satellites” designed to test Ka-band communication technology. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Innovation Academy for Microsatellites built the spacecraft, which will be used by an unidentified German company.
Kuaizhou-1A is a four-stage solid fuel booster developed by a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket is designed to launch micro-satellites on short notice.
China’s Kuaizhou-1A light launcher orbited two small satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Friday in a successful commercial mission.
The solid-fuel booster launched DFH Satellite Company’s KX-09 microgravity experimental satellite and SpaceTY’s Xiaoxiang 1-07 CubeSat.
The Kuaizhou-1A booster is manufactured and launches are managed by Expace, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).
CASIS said it is planning to launch Kuaizhou-1A eight or nine more times before the end of the year. This was the booster’s first launch of 2019.
It was the fifth successful flight in five attempts for the solid-fuel Kuaizhou family of boosters, and the third success for the upgraded Kuaizhou-1A variant. The booster can place payloads weighing up to 200 kg (441 lbs) in 700 km (435 mile) high sun synchronous orbits.
Xinhuareports that a new Smart Dragon-1 booster launched three satellites into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on its maiden flight.
The rocket, developed by the China Rocket Co. Ltd. affiliated to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT), blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 12:11 p.m. (Beijing Time).
The three satellites, respectively developed by three Beijing-based companies, will be used for remote sensing services, communication and Internet of Things.
Different from the carrier rockets of the Long March family, the new Dragon series is developed in a commercial mode to meet the market demand of launching small commercial satellites, said Wang Xiaojun, head of CALVT.
The SD-1, with a total length of 19.5 meters, a diameter of 1.2 meters, and a takeoff weight of about 23.1 tonnes, is a small-scale solid-propellant carrier rocket capable of sending 200 kg payloads to the solar synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km.
iSpace, aka, Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd., has become the first private Chinese company to launch payloads into orbit.
The company launched its four-stage Hypobola-1 rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert on Thursday afternoon local time.
iSpace reported the rocket deployed the CAS-7B amateur radio satellite and a technology verification satellite for China Central Television. Three additional payloads remained attached to the upper stage as planned.