Four Chang Zheng 11 launches by sea planned

(15 Mar 2021) China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp plans to carry out four sea-based launches this year by its Chang Zheng 11 solid-propellant rocket, according to a senior scientist at the State-owned space contractor.

Bao Weimin, the company's director of science and technology and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said five flights have been scheduled this year for the Chang Zheng 11, the only model in the company's Chang Zheng rocket family that burns solid fuel.

"Four flights will be made based on its sea-launch platform and another one will take place at a land-based launch site," he said.

"We plan to make sea-based launches a regular procedure for the Chang Zheng 11 because engineers have overcome all technical difficulties in seaborne missions, and also because sea-based launches have many advantages that land-based missions don't have," the scientist said.

The Chang Zheng 11 is 20.8 meters long, with a diameter of 2 meters and lift-off mass of 58 metric tons. It is capable of sending satellites into low-Earth orbit or Sun-synchronous orbit. Its first flight was in September 2015 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The rocket has been used in 11 launches (nine at land-based launch centers and two from ships) that placed more than 50 satellites into orbit.

Designers have begun to develop an upgraded version of the Chang Zheng 11, called Chang Zheng 11A, which will be more powerful than the existing model, Bao said.

The Chang Zheng 11A will be able to send a 2-ton satellite into low-Earth orbit. It is expected to have its maiden flight within two years, he said.

Reference: Xinhua

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