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From one success to another! CZ-2D successfully launched Remote Sensing Satellite-36, setting a new yearly launch record of this model
At 2:25 on December 15, 2022, CZ-2D launch vehicle sent Remote Sensing Satellite-36 to the target orbit successfully at Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The launch task was a complete success. The Remote Sensing Satellite-36 launched this time was developed by China Academy of Space Technology and Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.
This launch task is the 72nd launch of CZ-2D launch vehicle, the 179th launch of Long March launch vehicles developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, and the 455th launch of Long March launch vehicles.
CZ-2D launch vehicle
A new record after thirty years
CZ-2D launch vehicle for this task is a normal-temperature liquid two-stage launch vehicle developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology. It is characterized by “high reliability, good economic efficiency, and strong adaptability” etc., and can support the launch of a single satellite, multiple satellites connected in parallel or series, and carried satellites. Its carrying capacity in the sun-synchronous circular orbit can reach 1.3 tons (with an orbital height of 700 km).
In 2022, CZ-2D launch vehicle finished 15 launch tasks successfully, which set a new record of the number of annual launches of this model and became a milestone for annual launches of single satellite launch vehicles in China. Since August 9, 1992 when it made its maiden flight successfully, CZ-2D launch vehicle has achieved a total of 72 victories in launching through solid and steady steps in these 30 years. With continuous successful launches, it has won the well-deserved reputation of “model rocket”.
For the model team of CZ-2D, 2022 is a year full of both challenges and opportunities, and a year with unprecedented tests. Facing the new normal of ultra-high-density development and parallel launch tasks at three launch sites, the model team insisted on the philosophy of continual improvement, and firmly carried out the high quality, high standard, and high level development philosophy with concrete actions. The model team upgraded the critical systems of launch vehicles reliably, such as the power, structure, and electric systems, and made great improvements to the production of products by integrating the models and differentiating production processes based on the launch task. It also actively expanded the use of digital tools in LDM system, which improved the launch vehicle’s fast response to different launch tasks. The adoption of rolling batch production can not only guarantee the stability and consistency of products, but also meet the requirement of high-efficiency release of launch vehicles despite the high-density launch tasks. Now, the launch cycle of CZ-2D launch vehicle is increasingly shortening, becoming one of the liquid launch vehicles with the shortest work cycle at the launch sites in China. In particular, the entry of professional and full-time testing and launching teams will better guarantee the success of each launch task despite the high density of launch.
In 2022, despite the epidemic, the model team members held fast to their positions bravely, and placed indelible efforts in carrying out the launch task over the year. During the period when COVID-19 pandemic situation was worse in Shanghai, in order not to delay the development task, the test team members chose to stay at their positions without going home. They finished the year-round design work for the model, and ensured the scheduled general assembly test and onsite launch in the second half of the year. More than half of the model team members had the experience of staying outside to carry out multiple launch tasks continuously. With close cooperation, the members at the production site have ensured the successful production and launch despite in busy time. All the model team members are a witness of the ground-breaking success and are deeply touched by the success. All of them have made great contributions to the success of the model with their persistence and hard work.
On June 26, 2022, China’s largest deorbit sail was spread in the orbit. CZ-2D successfully verified the installation of a deorbit device to the module, becoming the first one in the world to successfully use the space debris resistance reduction technology systematically in a large scale.
On August 20, 2022, China’s Long March launch vehicles achieved success in the 103rd launch, breaking the previous record of 102 consecutive successful launches. CZ-2D is a witness as well as a creator of this record.
In 2022, the “model rocket”, which has been developed for more than thirty years, successfully completed the 60th and 70th launches of the model in Jiuquan, Xichang, Taiyuan, and Shanghai through collaborative efforts, walking from one success to another.
During the launch, the test team insisted on the “strict, careful, serious, and practical” work style. It conducted multiple special reviews, including the reviews of binding data of the telemetry system, high-altitude wind data, and ballistic trajectory off-load design and implementation plan. It also implemented the refueling strategy and successful data envelope analysis to carry out the task at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and re-analyzed and re-confirmed the reliability and safety of pre-launch operations to ensure the success of the year’s final launch task.
Remote Sensing Satellite-36
Staying fast on the frontline, achieving a new speed in the task
The satellite development team struggled and worked hard with high morale while knowing the burdens, and finished AIT of the whole satellite within 30 days and satellite launching within 20 days, which successfully demonstrated the refined team culture. The team has developed into a steel-willed team through the hardest work, worked out a set of development procedures, and set a new record in the annual number of launches.
In the era when the new modality of parallel testing of satellites has come, the team has always been exploring its way in unknown fields. “To make the parallel testing of satellites a big success” is of great referential significance for ensuring the successful launch and subsequent testing of satellites. Based on the comprehensive test experience in these years, the development team put forward the proposal of adding wired telemetry interfaces and providing the wired telecontrol function, reduced the scale of testing and improved the testing efficiency, and innovated and optimized the process of batch development of satellites. Chief Designer of the model stayed in Shanghai and shouldered the overall responsibility for the parallel development and launch of multiple satellites. Two deputy general managers stayed at the launch site for nearly 200 days. They worked together with ingenuity and dedication, and achieved the best result in doing the repetitive work. Several test teams stayed in Beijing and Xi’an for a long time. They had kept improving and finally successfully completed the in-orbit testing, flight control, and many other jobs. At the ordinary position, the model team has made extraordinary achievements and breakthroughs time after time: After load delivery, the satellite completed AIT prior to release within 1 month. After the satellite was transported to the launch site, it finished all work in the technical area within 1 week. After satellite launching, it finished flight control within 3 days. After flight control, it finished the quick evaluation within 2 weeks... All these witness of the new speed of satellites in Shanghai.
Seniors of the development team shared their skills and experience in the development and launch of multiple satellites with all test team members. They not only help the newcomers struggle arduously with moral encouragement, but also train talents for the model by teaching the newcomers hand by hand. The deputy chief engineer had further discussions about the plan for eliminating pre-launching faults with team members, led the team members to lose no time in moving on with the schedule, and finished the workload of 3 months within only 20 days. The chief designer led the young members to check the cables and identify invalid data piece by piece, and explained how to find out data anomalies thoroughly and patiently, demonstrating the “strict, careful, serious, and practical” work style... With continual innovation in conventional development, the satellite development team has cultivated the “young stewards” for model management, “all-rounders” for data transmission, telemetering and telecontrol, and “young experts” for subsystem production assurance and testing, and implanted the rigorous work attitude in the heart of each member.