One arrow nine stars! The Long March 11 rocket was successfully launched at sea
At 9:23 on the morning of September 15, China's Long March 11 carrier rocket took off from the "Debo-3" power ship located in the Yellow Sea, successfully bringing the nine "Jilin-1" high-score 03-1 group satellites Send into the predetermined track. This is the first commercial application launch of the Long March 11 rocket. It not only further verifies the reliability of maritime launches, but also marks the arrival of the era of normalization of China's maritime launches.
Create multiple "firsts"
According to Jin Xin, deputy commander-in-chief of the Long March 11 launch vehicle of the Institute of Launch Vehicle Technology of Aerospace Science and Technology Group, this mission is the 10th consecutive high-precision orbit of the Long March 11 rocket, and it is also the second time that the Long March 11 rocket has performed at sea Launch mission and the first commercial application at sea. "This launch mission is a truly marine commercial application launch. It not only puts 9 Jilin-1 satellites into sun-synchronous orbit at one time, but also further optimizes the technical process of maritime launch and improves the safety and security of maritime launch technology. Reliability lays the foundation for the normalization and high frequency of maritime launches in the future."
When talking about the difference between this launch mission and the first sea launch, Peng Kunya, the chief designer of the Long March 11 rocket, said that the rocket for this mission was completed directly at the Oriental Space Port after the rocket assembly test and the star rocket docking. The "Debo-3" was transported from Haiyang Port to the scheduled sea area of the Yellow Sea for launch, completely breaking the previous pattern of separation of rocket production and launch site, reducing the number of decomposition and assembly and long-distance railway transportation, and achieving rocket assembly test launch for the first time Integration, greatly shorten the launch chain, improve launch efficiency and benefit.
In addition, compared with the "Terry" barge used in the first sea launch, this time the "Debo 3" power ship was used as the launch platform to sail to this area autonomously. According to reports, there are many domestic ships similar to "Debo 3", which can be flexibly selected according to the launch plan. They will not be restricted by the schedule of a specific ship. Moreover, it has its own power, travels faster, and can be transported quickly. Launching into the launching sea area has a higher launch efficiency.
Peng Kunya also said that this is also the first time that the Long March 11 has launched a sun-synchronous orbit at sea. "The launching direction of the sun-synchronous orbit is fixed. Once the launch area and launch point selected for maritime launch are verified, they can be solidified in the future. Because the launching tasks of the sun-synchronous orbit are more frequent and the selection of land launch debris landing areas is becoming more and more difficult. The successful implementation of the maritime launch will highlight the advantage of greater orbital adaptability."
During this period, there was an episode. Taiwan’s "United Daily News" said on the 15th that the sea launch of the Long March 11 rocket circulated on Weibo on the 14th showed that after the rocket was launched from the Yellow Sea, it traversed the island of Taiwan from north to south and flew towards the South China Sea. Because the Weibo account that released this trajectory map also specifically marked the rocket "flying over the island of Taiwan, China," it was called a "very provocative move" by the island's green media.
There are three major advantages of maritime launch
China has already built space launch sites on four continents. Why should we vigorously develop maritime space launches? According to experts, sea launches first provide feasible conditions for improving the rocket carrying capacity. The ideal location for space launch is the low latitude area near the equator, which can maximize the use of the earth's rotation speed, save propellant consumption, and improve the carrying capacity of the rocket. Launch vehicles of the same take-off scale can have higher carrying capacity when launched near the equator, and the efficiency of the launch can also be reduced while the cost of launching a unit mass payload can be reduced. Due to geographical restrictions, the Hainan Wenchang launch site is already China’s lowest latitude land space launch site, while maritime launches are not subject to this restriction. The launch platform can send the rocket to the equator for launch.
Secondly, launches at sea are conducive to launching vehicles on special orbits. Nowadays, small inclination satellites can achieve high-frequency revisiting of a certain area, which is conducive to data acquisition, so the demand is increasing. If the rocket is launched from near the equator, energy consumption can be avoided by changing the inclination of the satellite's orbit, which can not only increase the rocket's carrying capacity for such missions, but also effectively increase the satellite's orbit life.
Third, sea launches will greatly improve the safety of rocket launches. For inland launches, landing area safety is an important factor that must be considered in launch mission design. During each launch, it is necessary to evacuate the actual landing area of the rocket booster, the first stage and the fairing, which is time-consuming and laborious. For maritime launches, because it is far away from densely populated areas, the rocket landing area can be selected in a large range. For the rocket, the launch orbit design is more convenient, and the safety of the landing area can also be greatly improved.