- China launched the “Long March 11” rocket from a mobile platform in the Yellow Sea
- Rocket sends seven satellites into orbit
From a mobile launch platform on the Yellow Sea, a seaborne rocket blasts off. Named “Long March 11”, the solid-propellant carrier rocket was the first of its kind to take off from water in China. The rocket launched outside Shandong on 5 June, sending seven satellites into orbit, reaching almost 595km from earth.
China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology designed and built the vessel and conducted over 310 carrier rocket launches from its launch centres before the seaborne launch.
Chinese company, Beijing Aerospace Satteliteherd Science and Technology, provided monitoring and tracking services for the duration of the launch and the course of the rocket in space. This was the first time such an operation was conducted by a private Chinese company.
The rocket is the only solid-fuel carrier of its kind, as well as the first in the Long March family. The Long March family is said to be the pillar of China’s space programmes.
The Long March 11 is 20.8m long, 2m wide and weighs 58 tons. The rocket is capable of sending satellites to either low-earth orbit or sun-synchronous orbit. It completed a total of six launches from land before it was launched from the mobile platform in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Shandong. During the previous trips, it placed 25 satellites into space.
The project manager of Long March 11, Li Tongyu, said they planned to develop and construct a coastal port to support seaborne launches. The academy intends to develop a dedicated launch platform to replace the current modified one. The new platform will be able to lift liquid-propellant and solid-propellant rockets. Liquid-propellant rockets are much bigger and stronger than solid-propellant rockets.
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