China to deliver first rocket launcher by 2022



On Tuesday, a Long March-11 light solid-propellant launcher took off from a floating mobile platform in the Yellow Sea off the coast of east China’s Shandong Province. Photo: VCG

The first Chinese ship to support satellite launches from the sea in particular is expected to be delivered by 2022, following a recent ceremony marking the start of construction of the ship in Haiyang City, Shandong Province. (east of China).

The new rocket launcher will be 162.5 meters long with a width of 40 meters, and is designed to meet the growing demand for launching and recovering existing medium to large-sized solid rockets from China and China. those under development, as well as small and medium liquid propellants, the Global Times learned Sunday from project insiders.

Construction of the new ship will be a major step towards such a goal, and insiders said the new ship will further improve the country’s high-frequency sea launch capability and lay a solid technological foundation for future Chinese rocket recoveries in sea.

Dubbed China’s fifth space launch center, the construction of the China Oriental Spaceport as a base for light solid rocket launches at sea was approved in July 2019.

Rocket maker China Rocket Co, which is affiliated with the country’s largest rocket developer and maker – the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology – and the Haiyang City government signed a contract, committing to building a base. production of 163 hectares for solid propellant rockets in December 2020.

The base is part of a global aerospace project. With an investment of 23 billion yuan ($ 3.5 billion) and a planned area of ​​1,860 hectares, the project includes an aerospace industrial park, a port for maritime rocket launches and a tourist park on the theme of the aerospace.

In addition to maritime rocket launches, the base will offer services such as rocket assembly and testing. The Haiyang base will be able to produce 20 powder rockets each year, the company previously said.

So far, China has carried out two successful maritime launches.

The first sea launch was carried out in June 2019, also using a Long March-11 carrier rocket, on a large semi-submersible barge named Tairui in the Yellow Sea, which marked a breakthrough in the safety, stability and reliability of sea launches despite complicated marine environments.

The second maritime launch took place in September 2020, also using the Long March-11.

Haiyang’s new spaceport played a key role in the second mission, with rocket assembly for the sea-launch mission and rocket-satellite installation both being carried out at China’s Eastern Spaceport. The rocket was then transferred from Haiyang Port to its designated launch site using a specially converted barge named Debo 3.

Compared to traditional indoor bases, the Haiyang site will streamline general assembly and pre-launch testing work, and save time on rocket disassembly and transfer, experts said.

The base will help improve the efficiency of China Sea launches from 10 to 15 days, while providing better risk management, said Li Shaoning, deputy chief engineer of the project developer – rocket producer China Rocket. Co – to the Global Times at the time of the second maritime launch in 2019.

The Smart Dragon-3 solid-fuel launcher, which can send up to 20 satellites at one time, has gained project approval and is expected to make its maiden flight in 2022, the Global Times previously reported. Smart Dragon-3 will also be available for launch missions at sea, Li said.


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