CZ-11WEY Sea Launch
Sea launching requires much in the regard of carrier rockets capacity. For instance, the trial launches have to be simple as well as direct and suitable ways to control and launch the satellites have to be adopted due to sea turbulence and the flow of heat. The Long March 11, a solid fuel rocket capable of fast speeds and high flexibility, can satisfying all the sea launch demands. Before, Russia, the US, Ukraine and Norway invested in a sea launch joint venture which hasnít carried out any launch service since 2014 for many reasons. Broadly speaking, the mission of the Long March 11 would be to realize continuation of sea launch.
China successfully launched a rocket from a mobile launch platform in the Yellow Sea off Shandong Province on 05 June 2019, sending two technology experiment satellites and five commercial satellites into space. A Long March-11 solid propellant carrier rocket blasted off at 12:06 p.m. from the mobile platform. It was China's first space launch from a sea-based platform and the 306th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series.
The rocket was also named "CZ-11 WEY" under an agreement between the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, China Space Foundation and a Chinese automobile producer. Launching a carrier rocket from an ocean-based platform has many advantages over a land launch. The closer to the equator a rocket launch can get, the greater the speed boost it would receive. It reduces the amount of energy required to get into space and means that less fuel was required.
The launch site was flexible and falling rocket remains pose less danger. Using civilian ships to launch rockets at sea would lower launch costs and give it a commercial edge. The seaborne launch technology would meet the growing launch demand of low inclination satellites and help China provide launch services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, according to experts.
The two satellites, developed by China Academy of Space Technology, are expected to step up all-weather monitoring of ocean wind fields and improve typhoon monitoring and accuracy of the weather forecast in China. Among the five commercial satellites, the two satellites, developed by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, are China's first small satellite system based on Ka-band.
At 9:23 on 15 September 2020, the Long March 11 carrier rocket used the "one arrow and nine stars" method in the Yellow Sea and successfully sent the Jilin-1 High-Fen 03 satellites into a 535-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.
According to Jin Xin, deputy commander-in-chief of the Long March 11 carrier rocket of the Rocket Academy, the mission was 10 consecutive high-precision orbits of the Long March 11 launch vehicle, 10 consecutive launches with zero mass on the rocket, and 10 consecutive launches on time with zero windows. This was the second maritime launch mission carried out by the Chang-11 rocket, and it was also the first maritime commercial application launch. Further optimize the marine launch technology process, improve the safety and reliability of the marine launch technology, and lay the foundation for the normalization and high frequency of maritime launch in the future.
The "Jilin No. 1" high score 03 satellites launched this time were independently developed by Jilin Changguang Satellite Co., Ltd., including 3 high score 03C video stars and 6 high score 03B push sweep stars, one of which was also named It was a Bilibili video satellite, customized for Internet science dissemination. This group of satellites would be networked with the "Jilin No. 1" satellite in orbit to provide users in forestry, agriculture, grassland, ocean, resources, environment and other industries with richer remote sensing data and product services.
According to reports, although the carrying capacity of a solid launch vehicle was smaller than that of a liquid launch vehicle, its biggest advantage was that the fuel was solidified in the rocket in advance. After receiving the launch command, it only takes one day or less from the test to the completion of the launch. It can well complete tasks such as emergency communication and remote sensing observation after natural disasters and emergencies.
According to Li Zongli, director of the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, maritime launches can provide China's aerospace with more launch areas, higher launch efficiency, stronger safety and flexibility. This maritime launch was an effective attempt to build a maritime launch system using my countryís sufficient large-scale ships, offshore platforms, port resources and mature solid rocket technologies. It was an important supplement to my countryís entry into space after the land launch site, and it has achieved flexible choices. The launch point and landing area have significantly improved the carrying capacity and effectively solved the problem of low-inclination launch capabilities, which was of great significance for creating efficient, flexible and economic launch capabilities and promoting the large-scale development of small satellites.
The mission goal of the launch vehicle was to send the payload into the predetermined orbit reliably, safely and economically. Unlike conventional launch vehicles on land, launch vehicles at sea have three major advantages.
First, sea launches provide feasible conditions for improving the rocket carrying capacity. Under normal circumstances, the offshore launch platform can move in a large area at sea, and the ideal launch site was a low latitude area near the equator. If the launch vehicle was launched near the equator, the Earth's rotation speed can be utilized to the maximum, saving the consumption of propellant, and thus improving the carrying capacity of the rocket. This means that launch vehicles of the same take-off scale can have a higher carrying capacity when launched near the equator, and the carrying efficiency can be improved while also reducing the launch cost of unit mass payload.
Second, sea launches are conducive to launch vehicles to perform special orbit launch missions. With the development of information technology, people have put forward higher requirements for maritime exploration. Small inclination satellites can achieve high-frequency revisiting of a certain area, which was conducive to data acquisition. At present, the number was increasing. If the rocket was launched from near the equator, it can avoid the change of the satellite's orbital inclination to consume energy, which can not only increase the rocket's carrying capacity for such tasks, but also effectively increase the satellite's orbit life.
The third was that sea launches would greatly improve the safety of rocket launches. For inland launches, landing area safety was an important factor that must be considered in launch mission design. The choice of landing zone not only affects the design of the launch trajectory, but may also reduce the rocket carrying capacity due to the choice of landing zone. In the actual launch, it was also necessary to evacuate the actual landing area of the rocket booster, the first stage and the fairing to ensure that no safety problems occur. For maritime launches, because it was far away from densely populated areas, the rocket landing area can be selected in a large range. For the rocket, the launch orbit design was more convenient, and the safety of the landing area can also be greatly improved.
So what are the key elements for the development of a sea-launched rocket?
First of all, there must be a rocket and a sea launch platform. For rockets, if a solid launch vehicle was selected, it has the advantages of convenient operation and use, but the carrying capacity was limited; if a liquid launch vehicle was selected, the launch adaptability was stronger, but the operation and use are complicated. Therefore, both solid and liquid rockets are viable options, but the difficulty of development was different. For the launch platform, the launch platform was required to have a large tonnage, good stability, and be able to adapt to the rocket launch environment. With the development of shipbuilding technology, large-scale shipbuilding companies currently have sufficient technical reserves to carry out the development of mobile offshore launch platforms.
Second, the adaptability of the marine environment needs to be considered. In the process of launching at sea, the launch vehicle needs to withstand the impact of marine transportation environment, natural environment, and sea conditions, especially the natural environment with marine characteristics such as salt spray and mold would directly affect the selection of launch vehicle equipment and the formulation of test conditions.
Third, the rocket was located on the launch platform. In order to ensure the safety of the rocket and personnel on the platform, it was necessary to study and solve the automation problems of rocket transportation, erection, docking, and filling during the organization of the launch, optimize the test launch procedure, and realize unattended operation. emission.
Experts said that taking into account the needs of land and sea launches, the requirements for rockets are even higher. Launching at sea was faced with harsh marine environment. First, it has a large shaking angle and was easy to tip. When shaking, there are higher requirements for the stability of the rocket and the fixation of the launcher; the second was salt spray, which was quite corrosive to ground equipment, and some protection was required. Measures of salt spray. The choice of the Chang-11 rocket for sea launch was because it was a solid rocket. It had been launched many times on land and was relatively mature.
A Long March-11 carrier rocket was launched 30 April 2022 at the Haiyang Oriental Aerospace Port in Haiyang, East China's Shandong Province. The Base supports the rocket to be assembled, tested, docked with the satellites, and loaded on the launch vessel in only a few hours. After the vessel arrives at the designated spot, the rocket can be promptly launched, with the entire process taking merely three to four days. In this way, it not only saves a considerable amount of preparation time by streamlining the process, and significantly reduced the cost.
The Haiyang base is part of a comprehensive aerospace project. With an investment of 23 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) and a planned area of 1,860 hectares, the project includes an aerospace industrial park, a port for seaborne rocket launches, and an aerospace-themed tourist park. The Global Times new facility is capable of manufacturing 10 solid rockets a year, with construction underway to double that number. The Long March-11 carrier rocket has achieved 10 consecutive successful land launches and three successful sea launches, creating a record of 13 consecutive victories. China's first vessel to support satellite launches from the sea in particular is expected to be delivered this year.
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