China to Construct Fifth Spaceport for Commercial Launches

The Long March 7A rocket lifts off on March 12, 2021. (Credit: Wu Tong Xiaoyu)

SpaceNews reports that China plans to construct a fifth spaceport to support the nation’s growing commercial launch sector. The spaceport is included in China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which covers 2021-25.

Dou Xiaoyu, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC), the top Chinese legislative body, and a vice chairperson at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC), a giant state-owned enterprise, called for a Chinese commercial spaceport project in order to meet an expected surge in demand for space launch services. 

Dou said China needs to strengthen domestic launch site capacity and continuously improve and optimize facilities. She also noted that launch-related policies and regulations have yet to be promulgated and perfected.

CASIC, through its subsidiary Expace, launch Kuaizhou series solid rockets for commercial purposes, both on the open market and for its own projects including a narrowband Internet of Things low Earth orbit constellation, named Xingyun. CASIC is also developing methane-liquid oxygen propellant engines.

China Launches 3 Yaogan-31 Military Reconnaissance Satellites

Long March 4C lifts off with three Yaogan-31 reconnaissance satellites. (Credit: CASC)

JIUQUAN SATELLITE LAUNCH CENTER, China (CASC PR) — On February 24 at 10:22 a.m., the Long March 4C carrier rocket was ignited and launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and successfully sent three Yaogan-31 satellites into the scheduled orbit. The mission was a complete success.

(more…)

Long March 3B Launches Communication Technology Test Satellite

Long March 3B rocket lifts off. (Credit: Zhang Yiyi)

BEIJING (CASC PR) — At 23:36 on February 4, the Long March 3B carrier rocket lifted the communication technology test satellite No. 6 into the sky frm the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Subsequently, the satellite was successfully sent into the predetermined orbit, and the launch mission was a complete success.

The communication technology test satellite No. 6 was developed by the Eighth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) Limited. It is mainly used for satellite communications, radio and television, data transmission and other services, and conducts related technical test verification.

The Long March 3B carrier rocket used for this launch belongs to the “Gold Medal Rocket” Long March 3A series and was developed by the First Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology Group.

This mission is the 360th launch of the Long March series of carrier rockets.

CASC: More Than 40 Launches Planned for 2021

Long March 5 launches the Chang’e-5 mission to the moon. (Credit: CNSA)

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) says it is gearing up to launch more than 40 times in 2020, which would break a national record. The Xinhua news agency reports:

The construction of China’s space station, the key space mission in the year, will enter a crucial stage, according to the CASC.

The country plans to launch the core module of its manned space station in the first half of 2021. Subsequent space missions include the launches of the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft and the Shenzhou-12 manned craft.

China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1 is designed to complete orbiting, landing and roving this year.

The spacecraft, launched on July 23, 2020, is expected to enter the Mars orbit around February. Afterward, it will spend two to three months surveying potential landing sites to prepare for its landing in May.

China launched 39 times with 35 successes and four failures in 2020,

China’s Long March 8 Rocket Makes Successful Debut in Step Toward Reusability

Long March 8 launches for the first time on Dec. 22, 2020. (Credit: CNSA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China’s newest booster, Long March 8, successfully placed five satellites into sun-synchronous orbit on Tuesday from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in a step toward partial reusability.

The medium-lift booster blasted off at 12:37 p.m. local time from Hainan island carrying the classified XJY-7 remote sensing technology test satellite and four smaller payloads.

(more…)

Chinese Long March 6 Launches 13 Satellites

A Chinese Long March 6 booster launched 10 commercial Earth observation satellites for Satellogic of Argentina and three second payloads for Chinese customers on Friday.

The booster lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center at 11:19 a.m. Beijing Standard Time on Nov. 6. It was the fourth Long March 6 launch and the 351st flight of the Long March family of boosters.

(more…)

Long March 5B Booster Arrives in Wenchang for First Flight in Mid-April

Long March 5 on the launch pad. (Credit: China National Space Administration)

BEIJING, February 7, 2020 (CASC PR) — Only one month after the successful launch of the Long March 5 and Long March 3 rockets, another member of the Long March 5 rocket family, developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), started its first journey.

(more…)

Video: Long March 5’s YF-77 Engine Hot Fire

Video Caption: The YF-77 rocket engine for the Long March-5 Y4 launch vehicle was tested for 100 seconds on CASC’s rocket engine test facility in Beijing, China, on 19 January 2020. Wang Shuguang, director of engine test, presented the facility and Wang Weibin, deputy chief designer of the Long March-5 rockets, explained the test. YF-77 is China’s first cryogenic rocket engine that burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as fuel. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is the main contractor for the China’s space program.

Credit: China Central Television (CCTV)

Chinese Leaders with Aerospace Backgrounds

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we present the following excerpt concerning senior Chinese government officials with aerospace and technical backgrounds.  [Full Report]

Confused by the acronyms in the table below? Parabolic Arc has added descriptions of the listed ministries and companies.


Many officials with backgrounds in the state defense complex have moved to senior government positions. While not all of these officials have backgrounds in space specifically, the result of these moves has been that senior Chinese political leaders often have a stronger technical understanding of the space sector than their foreign counterparts (see Addendum I listing key Chinese officials with aerospace sector backgrounds).

(more…)

Long March 4B Successfully Launches 3 Satellites

Long March 4B booster lifts off from Taiyuan with three satellites aboard on Sept. 12, 2019. (Credit: CGWIC)

BEIJING (CGWIC PR) — At 11:26, September 12th, 2019 BJT, the 5-meter Optical Satellite was successfully launched by Long March 4B (LM-4B) launch vehicle from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC), with two small satellites aboard, ICE-PATHFINDER (also known as BNU-1) of Beijing Normal University and Taurus-1 of Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co. Ltd.

(more…)

Amazon Constellation Sends Number of Planned Communications Satellites Soaring Above 20,000

F6 satellite (Credit: OneWeb)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has jumped into a crowded field of companies seeking to provide high-speed broadband, data and other communications services to the entire globe.

Amazon’s Kuiper constellation of 3,236 satellites brings the total number of spacecraft in the 16 announced systems to 20,241 spacecraft. The competition includes SpaceX, Boeing, Telesat, SES and government-backed companies in China and Russia.

(more…)











China Plans Another Busy Launch Year with Return of Long March 5

Long March 5 on the launch pad. (Credit: China National Space Administration)

After a record 39 launches in 2018, China is planning to launch over 50 satellites aboard more than 30 launch vehicles this year, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has announced.

The manifest includes the return to flight of China’s largest launch vehicle, Long March 5, after a two-year stand down. The booster, which can lift 14 metric tons to low Earth orbit (LEO), failed during its second flight on July 2, 2017 after a successful maiden flight eight months earlier.

(more…)











China Launches for 39th Time

China conducted its 39th launch of the year on Saturday with a successful flight from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

A Long March 2D rocket lifted off with the Hongyan-1 satellite aboard. It is the first spacecraft of a planned 300+ satellite constellation designed to provide global Internet service in the L- and Ka- bands.

The constellation is being developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

The booster also launched six Yunhai-2 satellites that will be used to study the atmosphere.

The launch came less than a week after the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corpopration (CASIC) launched the first Hongyun-1 satellite aboard a Long March 11 booster. Hongyun-1 is the first of a planned 156-satellite constellation designed to provide global communications beginning around 2022.

China’s 39 launches was the highest number ever for the nation. The country suffered one failure when the maiden launch of Zhuque-1 booster — developed by private startup Landspace — suffered a failure of its third stage.

The United States came in second place with 34 launches in 2018.











Disruptive New Entrants Lead Small-satellite Launch Race

CubeSats deployed from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

On-demand launch services and global ground station service expansion drive multiple growth opportunities that could take demand launch services revenues past $70 billion by 2030, finds Frost & Sullivan

LONDON, Aug. 7, 2018 (Frost & Sullivan PR) — Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Small-satellite Launch Services Market Quarterly Update Q2 2018, reveals that the market is abuzz with major service providers such as PSLV, CASC, Rocket Lab, JAXA, SpaceX, Roscosmos, and others launching a total of 62 small-satellites in the first quarter of 2018.

Frost & Sullivan now expects launch demand to increase to 11,740 small-satellites by 2030 with revenues reaching $70.10 billion. Commercial players will offer and enable real-time imagery, digital transformation, and seamless global connectivity.

(more…)











China’s Long March 5 Rocket to Return to Flight in Busy Launch Year

Long March 5 on the launch pad. (Credit: China National Space Administration)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In recent weeks, Chinese officials have revealed more details about the investigation into the Long March 5 launch failure last year as well as their ambitious launch plans for this year, which include a landing on the far side of the moon.

Long March 5 will be returned to flight in the second half of 2018, according to Bao Weimin, head of the Science and Technology Committee of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). Engineers have identified the cause of a launch failure that occurred last July and are working to verify it, he said.

(more…)