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Long March 4B lofts Gaofen-11

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Placed by: DRRA - KJvTil on 01-08-18 14:07 | E-mail: info(at)drra.nl
China has launched a new remote sensing satellite on Tuesday, with Gaofen-11 departing from LC9 at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on a Long March-4B – Chang Zheng-4B – rocket. The Launch took place at 03:00 UTC.

Previously unannounced, the new satellite, Gaofen-11, is described as an optical remote sensing satellite in the official press releases announcing the launch. No other characteristics of the new satellite were revealed at this time, as can be the case with some Chinese launches.

The Gaofen civilian high-resolution remote sensing satellites (gao fen = high-resolution) are part of a program that is one of the 16 main programs announced by the State Council in a 15 year plan of Chinese national scientific and technology programs between 2006 and 2020.

This program will become the main civilian Earth observation project of China in the next years, combining the use of satellites as well as airplanes and even stratosphere balloons.

The rocket is capable of launching a 2,800 kg satellite into low Earth orbit, producing 2,971 kN at launch. With a mass of 248,470 kg, the CZ-4B is 45.58 meters long and has a diameter of 3.35 meters.

SAST (Shanghai Academy of Space Flight Technology) began to develop the Chang Zheng-4B in February 1989. Originally, it was scheduled to be commissioned in 1997, but the first launch didn’t take place until late 1999. The modifications introduced on the Chang Zheng-4B included a larger satellite fairing and the replacement of the original mechanical-electrical control on the Chang Zheng-4 with an electronic control.

Other modifications were an improved telemetry, tracking, control, and self-destruction systems with smaller size and lighter weight; a revised nozzle design in the second stage for better high-altitude performance; a propellant management system for the second stage to reduce the spare propellant amount, thus increasing the vehicle’s payload capability and a propellant jettison system on the third-stage.

The first stage has a 24.65 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter, consuming 183,340 kg of N2O4/UDMH (gross mass of the first stage is 193.330 kg). The vehicle is equipped with a YF-21B engine capable of a ground thrust of 2,971 kN and a ground specific impulse of 2,550 Ns/kg. The second stage has a 10.40 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter and 38,326 kg, consuming 35,374 kg of N2O4/UDMH.

Written by Rui C. Barbosa July 31, 2018
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