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Successful launch shows new rocket factory's solid steps
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Apr 01, 2022

File illustration of a Long March 11 packed for transport.

China launched a Long March 11 solid-propellant carrier rocket on Wednesday morning from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China, deploying three satellites into space, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC).

The rocket blasted off at 10:29 am and soon placed the Tianping 2A, 2B and 2C satellites into their planned orbit. The launch was the 413th flight of the Long March rocket family and the eighth space mission by China this year.

The satellites will be used to survey space environment and correct orbital prediction models, the State-owned space conglomerate said.

The company said the rocket was the first built by a new rocket factory in the eastern coastal province of Shandong.

The factory is the first rocket manufacturing facility in Shandong and builds solid-propellant carrier rockets designed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in Beijing, a major subsidiary of the CASC.

Located in the suburbs of Haiyang city, the 800-hectare factory has started trial operation with an initial annual production capacity of 10 solid-propellant rockets. Meanwhile, engineers are installing more assembly lines inside the plant, the company said.

Upon completion, the factory will be capable of producing 20 rockets each year, it added.

"The factory is mainly tasked with manufacturing our Long March 11 and Smart Dragon series solid-fuel rockets," said Jin Xin, deputy project manager of the Long March 11, adding that the project is intended to facilitate sea-based launch missions and nurture local space-related industries in Shandong.

The idea of establishing a rocket factory was initiated by the Shandong provincial and Yantai city governments in June 2019 after a Long March 11 carried out China's first seaborne launch from a submersible in the Yellow Sea that month, he said.

The Long March 11 conducted its first flight in September 2015 at the Jiuquan launch center.

The model has a length of 20.8 meters, a diameter of 2 meters and a liftoff weight of 58 metric tons. It is capable of sending satellites to low-Earth or sun-synchronous orbits.

So far, the rocket has performed 12 launches-10 at land-based launch centers and two from ships-that successfully placed more than 50 satellites into space.

Designers have begun to develop the Long March 11A, an upgraded variant which will be more powerful than the existing model, Jin said.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Related Links
China Aerospace Science and Technology
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

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NASA on Friday began a critical two-day-long test of its giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket complete with a simulated countdown, as the agency gears up to return humans to the Moon. Known as the "wet dress rehearsal," it is the final major test before the Artemis-1 mission this summer: an uncrewed lunar flight that will eventually be followed by boots on the ground, likely no sooner than 2026. "The countdown is now underway," NASA said in its Artemis blog at 5:00 pm Eastern Time (2100 GMT), ... read more

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