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Launch of Shijian 20 lights up Chinese skies and exploration ambitions

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Launch of Long March 5 with Shijian 20 satellite Image Credit CCTV

The third Lengthy March 5 with the Shijian 5 satellite tv for pc lifts off from the Wenchang Launch Web site 1. Picture Credit score: CCTV

China put the pin in its 2019 launch manifest by sending the Shijian-20 communications satellite tv for pc into high-Earth orbit. This comparatively routine flight may herald the opening of a daring new period in Chinese language house exploration.

Shijian 20 is predicated off of the DFH-5 satellite tv for pc platform. A more recent design, the satellite tv for pc is able to producing an estimated 18 kilowatts of payload energy. It additionally sports activities a bigger truss and superior electronics. The spacecraft is protected in a really excessive orbit, roughly 22,369 miles (36,000 kilometers).

The launch of the Shijian-20 marked solely the third time that the Lengthy March 5 has flown the Chinese language skies. The Friday, Dec. 27 flight was introduced by the Chinese language Information Company after it had been decided the mission’s goal had been efficiently achieved. The Lengthy March 5 lifted off from the Wenchang launch website situated on Hainan island at eight:45 p.m. EST (1245 GMT). 

In 2019 China led the world in launches with some 34 further launch “notches” on its belt. By comparability, the US accomplished 27.

The Shijian 20 satellite. Photo Credit: CCTV

The Shijian 20 satellite tv for pc. Picture Credit score: CCTV

The Long March 5 was first launched in November of 2016 and is estimated to find a way of hefting as a lot as 25 tons of payload to orbit. Whereas highly effective, the rocket doesn’t have the very best observe document. Cash woes and technical points delayed the rocket’s inaugural flight. Its second flight resulted in failure with the lack of the Shijian 18 satellite tv for pc. Lengthy March rockets are “coded,” the automobile that launched Shijian 20 was listed as Long March-5 Y3.

Whereas NASA astronauts can not journey past Earth’s environment with out costly assist from Mom Russia, China has been working to ship its “taikonauts” to the nation’s Chinese language House Station (CSS) which may very well be on orbit as quickly as 2022. Whereas this in-and-of itself can be a serious milestone, the communist nation isn’t stopping with a manned station.

China has ambitions past low-Earth orbit. It has the Moon in its sights – as soon as once more. The Chang’e-5 the follow-on to its highly-successful Chang’e-Four  deliberate to the touch down on the Moon subsequent 12 months. The timing of the Chang’e-5 mission was thrown off when issues went “incorrect” in the course of the 2017 Lengthy March 5 launch. 

Regardless of this minor setback, China remains to be working towards pushing ahead to Mars. The Lengthy March 5 is a big a part of the nation’s ambitions because it has set its eyes towards the Purple Planet. 

Video courtesy of SciNews





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