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300 launches! A Milestone of Long March Series Launch Vehicle, and a New Beginning of China Aerospace
▲ Successful launch (Photo/Chu Hongjie)
At 0:28 on March 10, a huge roar echoed through Daliangshan. The Long March 3B (CZ-3B) launch vehicle blasted off from The Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) with ChinaSat 6C satellite, and then the satellite successfully entered its predetermined orbit. At this moment, the number of the launches in the Long March Series Launch Vehicle was officially recorded as "300".
▲ Liftoff of CZ-3B (Photo/ Gao Nan)
”The successful 300th launch of Long March-series launch vehicle is an important historical moment in the development of China aerospace industry. “This is also a new beginning for China to pursuit progress in aerospace industry from quantitative change to qualitative change. This is a milestone for China's aerospace industry development," said Wu Yansheng, Party Secretary and Board Chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Group Corporation (CASC).
▲ CZ-3B rips apart the night sky (Photo/ Wang Xu)
The Long March-series launch vehicles, independently developed by CASC, are the de facto major launch vehiclesof China aerospace industry. The Long March Series Launch Vehicle is responsible for about 96.4 percentof the nation’s launch missions accounting for 99.2%of the total spacecrafts launched in China. Since its first launch in 1970, the Long March launch vehicle have been put into service successively with Type 17 basic-stage launch vehicleand Type 5 upper-stage launch vehicle.506 spacecraftshave been successfully put into scheduled orbit by Long March launch vehicle. They have different payloads and are equipped with the ability to launch for low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth orbit (MEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO). Their carrying capacity, launch frequency, success rate, orbit accuracy and adaptability have all ranked the world-class level. Long March has become a brand leading in China and renowned around the worldwith independent intellectual property rightsin international high-tech industries.
Over the years, the Long March-series launch vehicle have strongly supported the implementation of a series of key space programs including, manned space program, lunar exploration program, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), high resolution earth observation system, which laid a solid foundation for promoting the development in related fields and accelerating the construction of a powerful country in science, technology and space.
▲ CZ-3B flies into space (Photo/ Fu Su)
It took 37 yearsfor the Long March Series Launch Vehicle to make 100 launches from April 24, 1970 (first launch of Long March 1) to June 1, 2007(CZ-3A carrying with SinoSat-3 into space); then, the next 100 launches were completed more than seven yearsuntil December 7, 2014 when CZ-4B successfully launched China-brazil earth resource satellite (CBERS) into space; and today, the third 100 launches were made in the past 4 years.
▲ Long March launch vehicle “speed up”
According to statistics, the success rate of the 300 launches of the Long March launch vehicle is about 96%. Compared with the first 50 launches, the success rate of the latter 250 launches has increased significantly and tended to be stable. In the third 100 launches, 225 spacecraft were put into orbit by the Long March launch vehicle, with a success rate of 97%, ranking the leading position in the world. Notably in 2018, with 37successful launches in the whole year, the Long March Series Launch Vehicle ranked firstin terms of the number of launches in the world for the first time.
▲ CZ-3B is hoisted (Photo/ Gao Nan)
At present, four types of new generation Long March series launch vehiclehave been put into service and completed their first missions. The fourth type is under development, and heavy-lift launch vehicleis at the stage of technological breakthrough and further demonstration. In the future, along with the continuous development, the new generation of Long March-series launch vehicle will replace the old ones in an all-round way, and China will take another advancement of the level of launch vehicle. At the same time, China will also achieve major breakthroughs in space access and transportation from one-time use to reuse, from single space transportation to the combination with space operation.
▲ CZ-3B stands beside the launching tower (Photo/ Gao Nan)
CZ-3B used in this launch mission is developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (The First Academy of CAST). ChinaSat 6C is a new communication satellite. It is a high-quality satellite that meets the requirements of radio and television information transmissionin China and ensures the safe broadcasting of radio and television after ChinaSat 6A, ChinaSat 6B, ChinaSat 9 and ChinaSat 9A. It is developed by China Academy of Space Technology(CAST). After orbital delivery, it will be operated and managed by China Satellite Communications, affiliated to CASC.
▲ ChinaSat 6C satellite (Photo/ Zhuang Qianqian)
Standing at the new beginning after 300 launches, CASC, as the leading forceof China aerospace industry, will continue to strengthen and expand the "Long March" brand by means of continuous technological innovation and basic capacity enhancement, and build a launch vehicle family for the new generation of Long March-series launch vehicle with “advanced technology, cost optimization, reliable products and first-class measurement and launch”, so as to meet the needs of various satellite launches at home and abroad, promote high-quality development of China aerospace industry, as well as make more contribute to the construction of a strong aerospace country.
Source: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation