China completed its Beidou satellite navigation system with a launch last week, fully standing up a rival to the American Global Positioning System (GPS), Europe’s Galileo constellation, and Russia’s GLONASS system and strengthening the nation as a space power.
A Chinese Long March 3B booster failed after launch on Thursday, destroying an Indonesian communications satellite and providing a spectacular nighttime light show for residents of Guam as debris burned up in the atmosphere.
China’s Xinhua news agency said the Long March 3B’s third stage malfunctioned after launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
The booster was carrying the Palapa-N1 geosynchronous communications satellite. The spacecraft was owned by Palapa Satelit Nusantara Sejahtera, which is a joint venture of Pasifik Satelit Nusantara and Indosat Ooredoo.
Palapa-N1, also known as Nusantara Dua, would have provided C-band and Ku-band broadcast and broadband services for Indonesia and neighboring regions. The China Academy of Space Technology built the spacecraft based on its DFH-4 platform.
Debris from the launch reentered the atmosphere near Guam. Officials said the debris posed no threat to the U.S. territory.
It was China’s second launch failure in less than a month. On March 16, the maiden launch of the Long March 7A rocket went awry, destroying a classified government satellite. Chinese officials have not announced the cause of the failure.
China completed the first orbital launch of 2019 on Thursday as a Long March 3B booster orbited the Zhongxing-2D communications satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China.
The Chang’e 4 robotic probe is expected to land on the South Pole–Aitken basin on the silver sphere’s far side sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, according to information from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, a major contractor of the country’s lunar exploration programs.
The State-owned conglomerate previously said that the spacecraft would fly 26 days before landing on the lunar surface.
Chang’e 4 was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on Dec 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province to fulfill the world’s first expedition on a lunar region that never faces the Earth.
The lander includes the following payloads:
landing and terrain cameras;
a low-frequency spectrometer;
a lunar lander neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.
The rover’s payloads include:
a panoramic camera;
a lunar penetrating radar system;
a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) analyzer provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.
The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched last year.
The following is a list of launches for the remainder of November based on Spaceflightnow.com’s Launch Schedule. The list includes two launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and one launch apiece from Xichang in China, Kourou in French Guiana, and Satish Dhawan in India.
Please check Spaceflightnow’s launch page regularly because launches tend to slip on a regular basis.
Editor’s Note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Monday has been postponed five or six days so engineers can conduct additional checks of the booster. The first stage is being flown for the third time.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B — SUCCESS Payload: 2 Beidou navigation satellites Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Xichang, China
Launch Vehicle: Vega Payload: Mohammed VI-B Earth observation satellite Launch Time: 8:42 p.m. EST on 20th (0142 GMT on 21st) Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana Webcast: http://www.esa.int
Launch Vehicle: PSLV Payload: HySIS hyperspectral imaging satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India Webcast: https://www.isro.gov.in/
Launch Vehicle: Delta 4-Heavy Payload: NROL-71 reconnaissance satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: https://www.ulalaunch.com/
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payload: Spaceflight, Inc. SSO-A rideshare mission Launch Time: TBD Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: http://www.spacex.com
This flight will deploy more than 70 spacecraft from approximately 35 different organizations.
China set a new national record for the number of launches in a calendar year.
A Long March 3B booster lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center with two Beidou navigation satellites bound for medium Earth orbit. It was the 23rd successful launch of the year with no failures.
To date, China has launched six boosters with 11 Beidou satellites aboard in 2018. The navigation satellite system, which is similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System and Europe’s Galileo constellation, will eventually have 35 satellites in orbit.
China’s launch total for 2018 is expected to be in the low to mid-30’s.
The world’s launch providers were extremely busy in the first half of 2018, with China and the United States battling for the lead.
There with 55 orbital launches through the end of June, which amounted to a launch every 3.29 days or 79 hours. The total is more than half the 90 launches attempted in 2017. With approximately 42 missions scheduled for the last six months of the year, the total could reach 97. (more…)
The world’s launch providers have been extremely busy in the first quarter of 2018, with 31 orbital launches thus far. This is more than one third of the 90 launches conducted last year.
China leads the pack with 10 successful launches. The United States is close behind with a total of nine launches with one failure. The tenth American launch is scheduled for Monday afternoon from Florida.
SpaceX successfully launched 10 Iridium Next satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday morning.
Iridium-NEXT satellites 41-50 were successfully deployed from the booster’s second stage about an hour after the launch at 7:13 a.m. PDT. It was the fifth batch of 10 Iridium-NEXT satellites that SpaceX has orbited using three different first stage boosters.