China launched a solid-fuel rocket from mobile sea platform

The Chinese company China Rocket launched a solid-fuel rocket Jielong-3 (“Smart Dragon-3”) from a sea platform in the Yellow Sea. It put into orbit 8 satellites developed by various companies of the Celestial Empire.

Launch of Jielong-3. Source: CASC

Successful launch of satellites

China successfully launched a four-stage solid-fuel rocket Jielong-3 from the mobile platform “Tai Rui” in the Yellow Sea. It happened on December 9 at 8:35 a.m. GMT+2. The rocket was developed by the Chinese company China Rocket.

In total, 14 satellites were put into orbit. Eight of them are Jilin-1 Gaofen 03D 44-50 devices developed by Changguang Satellite Technology, a remote sensing company. Another one is the Jilin-1 Pingtai 01A01 device, developed by the same company, is an experimental platform for placing surveillance sensors.

In addition, Jielong-3 launched a number of other spacecraft into space: Fengtai Shaonian-2 (CAS-5A), Head-2H, two satellites Golden Bauhinia-1, Tianqi-07 and Torch-1. The latter is the first scientific satellite of the private company Rocket Pi.

The Jielong-3 rocket and its developers

This launch of the Jielong-3 is the second for China Rocket. The first one took place back in 2019. Then it was the Jielong-1 rocket. But the launch of the solid-fuel Jielong-2, which in its capabilities is very similar to the Long March 11 developed by state enterprises, for some reason does not take place.

The Jielong-3 is capable of carrying 1,500 kg of cargo into a sun-synchronous orbit with a height of 500 km. In its size and shape, the nose cone is very similar to the ZK-1A developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

There is nothing surprising in such similarity of designs, because China Rocket is actually a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Space Sciences and Technologies (CASS), which is the main developer of all rockets for the state space program of the Celestial Empire.

Today, China Rocket announced the start of work on a new solid-fuel rocket Jielong-4. Its engine will have a thrust of 500 tons. It was such an engine that the already mentioned CASC tested in 2021.

Floating spaceport and solid-fuel rockets of China

China has previously launched the Long March 11 solid-fuel rocket from the sea. But then the launch was cold, it was first shot out of the container, and only then the engine was turned on. The Jielong-3 became the first Chinese rocket to carry out a “hot” launch from a sea platform and makes you think about two things.

The first is China’s clear interest in solid-fuel rockets. Western countries do not pay much attention to them, because, despite their simplicity and cheapness, it is extremely difficult to manage them. It seems that the Celestial Empire can cope with them..

The second thing is China’s development of floating launch platforms. Like solid-fuel rockets, this solution is suitable mainly for small missions. But it allows China to unload its main spaceports and thus increase the number of launches. 

By the way, the current launch of Jielong-3 has already become the 58th space launch for China this year. Thus, the Celestial Empire broke its last year’s record for their number.

According to

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