China launches military satellite toward geostationary orbit – Spaceflight Now

A Lengthy March 3B rocket takes off with the TJS 6 satellite tv for pc. Credit score: CASC

A mysterious Chinese language authorities satellite tv for pc, believed to be a military-operated early warning station, efficiently launched into orbit Feb. four on prime of a Lengthy March 3B rocket.

The three-stage, 184-foot-tall (55-meter) rocket lifted off from the Xichang house heart at 1536 GMT (10:36 a.m. EST), in line with the China Aerospace Science and Expertise Corp., or CASC, China’s largest state-owned aerospace contractor.

The Lengthy March 3B pitched away from Xichang, situated in Sichuan province in southwestern China, on an easterly trajectory to move for an elliptical geostationary switch orbit.

Liftoff occurred at 11:36 p.m. Beijing time.

After dropping its 4 hydrazine-fueled boosters, first stage, and second stage, the Lengthy March 3B’s twin-engine cryogenic higher stage ignited two instances to inject the rocket’s payload into the right orbit for deployment. Chinese language authorities officers stated the mission achieved its “predetermined orbit” and was a “full success.”

U.S. army monitoring information indicated the payload separated from the Lengthy March 3B rocket in an elliptical, or egg-shaped, orbit ranging between 120 miles (194 kilometers) and 22,251 miles (35,811 kilometers) in altitude, with an inclination of 28.5 levels to the equator.

The spacecraft is predicted to make use of an on-board propulsion system to achieve a round orbit greater than 22,000 miles over the equator, the place its orbital velocity will match Earth’s rotation, the satellite tv for pc a set protection space.

In response to CASC, the brand new spacecraft — named TJS 6 — is a communication expertise take a look at satellite tv for pc. The TJS 6 spacecraft might be “primarily used for satellite tv for pc communications, radio and tv, information transmission, and different companies,” CASC stated, together with conducting associated expertise verification checks.

However impartial analysts consider the TJS 6 satellite tv for pc has a army objective, and will carry sensors designed to warn Chinese language leaders of an impending missile assault. Low-resolution illustrations of the TJS 6 satellite tv for pc present payloads which can be much like infrared devices on-board U.S. army early warning satellites.

China has launched six satellites within the TJS collection since 2015, and all are extensively purported to have army missions. The TJS 2, TJS 5, and TJS 6 satellites look like of the identical sort, doubtless with missile warning sensors.

The TJS 1 and TJS four satellites are theorized to have an digital or alerts intelligence-gathering mission.

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Comply with Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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