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JSSW / Project 701

China used the FB-1 booster to launch the 1,100 kilogram JSSW [Ji Shu Shiyan Weixing - (Technical Test Satellite] series, the precise mission of which remains somewhat obscure. Three failures resulted from the total of six launch attempts between September 1973 and November 1976, with two successful missions probably placing radio-downlink imagery intelligence spacecraft into orbit.

The final successful launch in this puzzling series, the JSSW-3 flight of 30 August 1976, placed its payload into an eliptical orbit with a perigee of some 190 kilometers, but with an apogee of over 2,100 kilometers [versus the average 400 kilometer apogee of the other two sucessful launches. This much higher apogee is one piece in the puzzle that has prompted speculation that the JSSW-3 mission carried an electronic intelligence [ELINT] payload. The next and final JSSW launch attempt on 10 November 1976 was a failure, and the unique JSSW-3 mission profile was not repeated.

Because of the association of the JSSW series with the FB-1, it is reasonable to believe that the JSSW spacecraft were the product of the same Shangai Bureau that produced this launch vehicle, and that the JSSW satellite program may have shared both the technical and political woes of the FB-1 and the Shanghai Bureau.

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Page last modified: 13-11-2013 19:37:24 ZULU