China carried out a successful launch of the Changzheng-8 (“Long March 8”, CZ-8) rocket with five satellites and with a secret satellite XJY-7.
The rocket was launched at 12:37 (GMT + 8) this Tuesday from the Wenchang space base, on the island of Hainan (south).
“The first mission has been a complete success,” announced the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
好！！！！！ pic.twitter.com/d7kwkWViNB— 中国航天旅游 (@Longmarch13) December 22, 2020
The rocket will launch the secret XJY-7 satellite into sun-synchronous orbit to test technologies developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). Also on board are the ET-SMART-RSS (ETHSAT-6U) or Zhixing-1A microsatellite, created for Ethiopia, the Hayesi-1 Earth remote sensing apparatus and the next Tianqi low orbit communications satellite (Apocalypse 12).
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The newest two-stage Chinese launch vehicle Changzheng-8 is capable of launching up to 2.8 tons of payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, up to 5 tons into a sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 700 km, and 7.6 tons into low-earth orbit.
The rocket, which measures 50.3 meters long, consists of a central stage 3.35 meters in diameter and two lateral accelerators of 2.25 meters in diameter.
It weighs about 356 tons and is capable of sending payloads of 3 to 4.5 tons or even more to Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) that are about 700 kilometers above Earth.
China's new rocket Long March 8 successful lift off from Wenchang launch center today, which will carry 4 microsatellites: XJY-7, Haisi-1, Apocalypse 12, Zhixing-1A and 5 other payloads into orbit. pic.twitter.com/sbNrxwTaPY— Angelina (@SpaceGirlLina) December 22, 2020
The new rocket, intended to meet the growing demand for commercial launch services within and outside the country, has come to be known as the “Chinese version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9” because it has reusable components.
The first stage of Long March-8 is expected to be reused in up to 10 launches by 2025. Ten years later, according to forecasts, the entire rocket will be reusable.