China’s Kuaizhou-1A rocket launches two satellites

Early today China’s smallsat Kuaizhou-1A rocket successfully launched two “experimental” satellites into orbit from an interior spaceport.

The satellites are part of a classified program, so little is known about them.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

43 SpaceX
39 China
12 Russia
7 Rocket Lab
6 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 60 to 39 in the national rankings and the entire world combined 60 to 59.

Tomorrow ABL Space will attempt to launch from Alaska its RS1 smallsat rocket for the first time. Later in the week Firefly will make its second attempt to launch its Alpha rocket successfully. I will embed the live streams, if available.

Russia launches three astronauts to ISS; China launches Earth observation satellite

Russia today successfully used its Soyuz-2 rocket to launch three astronauts to ISS, two Russians and an American flying as part of the NASA-Roscosmos barter deal whereby each agency flies an astronaut from the other in order to make sure everyone knows how to use each other’s equipment.

China in turn today used its Long March 2D rocket to launch an Earth observations satellite into orbit.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

42 SpaceX
38 China
12 Russia
7 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 58 to 38 in the national rankings, and is now tied with the entire world combined at 58.

September 16, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay, who trolls Twitter so I don’t have to.

September 15, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay, who trolls Twitter so I don’t have to.

September 13, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of stringer Jay.

China’s Long March 7A launches communications satellite; dumps debris on Philippines

China today launched its Long March 7A rocket from its coastal Wenchang spaceport, successfully placing a communications satellite into orbit.

The coastal launch site meant that the rocket’s lower stages would not fall on China’s interior. Instead, it appears the drop zones were located in the Philippines.

The [Philippines Space] agency said it was able to verify the estimated drop zones of the rocket debris from a notice by the Civil Aviation Administration of China. “Two drop zones within the Philippine territory have been identified based on the NOTAM: Drop zone 1 is approximately 71 kilometers from Burgos, Ilocos Norte, while drop zone 2 is approximately 52 kilometers away from Sta. Ana, Cagayan,” PhilSA said in an advisory.

No word on whether this debris caused any damage. Regardless, China is continuing its policy, in violation of the Outer Space Treaty, of recklessly dumping rocket stages on others.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

41 SpaceX
37 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 56 to 37 in the national rankings, but is now tied with the entire world combined 56 to 56. This tie will likely not be long-lived. Though Firefly’s launch has been delayed until next week, SpaceX and Rocket Lab have launches scheduled for today and tomorrow, respectively.

September 12, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of stringer Jay.

September 8, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of string Jay:

China’s Long March 2D launches two military satellites

China yesterday successfully launched two military satellites using its Long March 2D rocket.

Launched from an interior spaceport, the rocket’s first stage crashed somewhere in China.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

40 SpaceX
36 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 55 to 36 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 55 to 54.

China launches two satellites with its Kuaizhou-1A rocket

China today successfully placed what it labeled as “two test satellites” into orbit using its smallsat Kuaizhou-1A rocket.

No information at all was released about both satellites.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

40 SpaceX
35 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise now leads China 55 to 35 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 55 to 53.

September 5, 2022 Space quick links

All courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay.

China’s Long March 4C rocket launches military satellite

China today successfully used its Long March 4C rocket to place a military Earth observation satellite into orbit.

Launched from an interior spaceport, the rocket’s lower stages thus crashed uncontrolled in China.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

39 SpaceX
34 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 54 to 34 in the national rankings, and the entire globe 54 to 52.

Chinese astronauts complete first spacewalk using new Wentian module

The new colonial movement: Chinese astronauts yesterday completed their first spacewalk using the airlock on the new Wentian module that was recently launched to that nation’s Tiangong-3 space station.

The spacewalk lasted six hours, and was mostly designed to test the airlock itself as well as do the first tests of Wentian’s own robot arm. It appears they also installed an “extended pump set”, whatever that is, and did other work near the hatch. More here.

August 31, 2022 Quick space links

Thanks to BtB’s stringer Jay.

That’s nice, but years have passed and the first Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft, Tenacity, has still not flown. It is well past time for this company to finally get off the ground.

This also be the first spacewalk using the airlock on the space station’s new Wentian module.

It appears to be built by the pseudo-company Orienspace.

August 29, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay:

As I’ve said numerous times, I’ll believe this engine is a flight engine when I see it in flight.

The link goes to the research paper from the Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity, which is in Chinese except for the abstract. This tweet highlights the “leg deploying test and full-scale landing impact experiment” from that paper.

August 24, 2022 Quick space links

Links courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay.

Indian research project for China’s space station threatened by Chinese-India military conflict

A science instrument from India, slated to fly on a Chinese rocket to China’s Tiangong-3 space station, is now threatened by the military tensions between the two nations.

The project, called Spectrographic Investigation of Nebular Gas (SING), also involves collaboration with the [India] Institute of Astronomy [IIA], Russian Academy of Sciences, and has been designed and developed by research students at the IIA. The plan is to have it ready by the year end so that it can be launched in the summer of 2023. Though the plan is on schedule, scientists at the IIA are now consulting with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as well as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on whether they are in the clear to go ahead with the project.

Chinese and Indian troops have been engaged in a prolonged stand-off in eastern Ladakh. The two sides have so far held 16 rounds of Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the stand-off, which erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.

It appears the Indian government is having second thoughts about this cooperative project. After decades of naive trust in the communists from both Russia and China, it seems India has finally realized the communists really have little interest in helping India, being more focused on using it for good PR while it steals Indian technology. Moreover, India now realizes that China has become a dangerous neighbor, willing to use its newfound power violently at the border between the two countries.

Two Chinese pseudo-companies pursuing suborbital tourist market

Link here. One company is apparently copying Blue Origin’s New Shepard, though its capsule’s exterior looks more like a copy of SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The other company however is doing something very unusual for a Chinese space operation. It appears to be designing something original, not a copy of some American achievement.

Space Transportation’s goal is to develop a suborbital spaceplane capable of carrying tourists on suborbital flights. The winged system is very different from Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle, which is currently in flight test.

A larger Space Transportation vehicle would be a high-speed transport that would fly between distant locations on Earth in less than two hours.

…The company released very little information about the six launches it conducted this year. It’s not even clear where the flights took place, although Wikipedia indicates they might have been conducted from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

If successful, Space Transportation will have have done something almost unprecedented for China, building something from an entirely original design.

China launches hi-res Earth observation satellite

China today used its Long March 2D rocket to place a new version of a smallsat Earth observation satellite into orbit. Dubbed the Beijing-3B, it appears to be an upgrade of a design first launched last year.

The launch site was in the interior of China, and for certain dumped its first stage onto that interior.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

37 SpaceX
33 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 52 to 33 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 52 to 51.

China’s Kuaizhou-1A rocket launches satellite

China today successfully used its smallsat Kuaizhou-1A rocket to launch what appears to be a technology test satellite for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

As the launch was from an interior spaceport in China, the rocket’s first stages crashed somewhere inland.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

37 SpaceX
32 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 52 to 32 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 52 to 50.

August 22, 2022 Quick space links

From BtB’s stringer Jay:

SpaceX and China complete launches

Two launches have just occurred in the 2022 launch race. First, SpaceX today successfully launched another 53 Starlink satellites, using its Falcon 9 rocket.

The first stage successfully landed on its drone ship in the Atlantic, completing its ninth flight.

China in turn used its Long March 2D rocket to launch three military reconnaissance satellites, at what was the early morning hours of August 20, 2022, China time. The launch path took the rocket over China’s interior as well as Taiwan, with the first stage crashing somewhere in China.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

37 SpaceX
31 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 52 to 31 in the national rankings, and the entire world 52 to 49. The 52 launches so far this year is now the fifth best total for the U.S. since the launch of Sputnik in 1957.

August 18, 2022 Quick space links

As stringer Jay correctly noted to me in an email today, “Slow news day.” None of the stories below merit a full post, even though they are pretty much all of today’s space news.

August 16, 2022 Quick space links

Tiangong-3 in orbit
Click to see full image.

Some quickie stories worth noting, most provided by stringer Jay:

China’s radar ship finally docks in Sri Lanka

Despite objections by India and an initial refusal by the Sri Lanka government to allow a Chinese military communications/radar ship to dock at one of Sri Lanka’s ports, the ship was finally allowed to dock yesterday.

Sri Lanka, which needs the support of both India and China as it struggles with its worst economic crisis in decades, initially granted the ship permission for a five-day replenishment stay in Hambantota, from Aug. 11.

It later asked China to delay the vessel’s arrival, citing the need for more consultations.

Yuan Wang 5 will now berth for only three days to stock up on fuel, food and other essentials, said an official at the port who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The ship is used by China to track satellites, rockets, and missiles, both its own and other nations.

Sri Lanka is caught between a rock and a hard place. The country is bankrupt, its citizens facing starvation due to the previous government’s imposition of numerous green environmental policies that destroyed its agriculture industry. It has also taken aid from both India (providing military hardware) and China (which built the port and holds a 99-year lease to operate it), and neither looks kindly at the other.

August 15, 2022 Quick space links

From Jay, BtB’s stringer:

August 14, 2022 Quick space links

Some weekend news from BtB’s top stringer, Jay.

Russia and China complete launches

Both Russia and a pseudo-commercial Chinese company today completed launches.

Russia used its Soyuz-2 rocket to launch a military reconnaissance satellite for Iran, along with 16 Russian smallsats. The rocket was originally going to launch a South Korean satellite, but that launch was cancelled due to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

In China, the pseudo-company Galactic Energy used its four-stage Ceres-1 rocket to place three Earth observations satellites into orbit. Because three of the rocket’s four stages use solid rocket motors, they were likely reworked from military applications. Thus, Galactic Energy does nothing without the full approval and supervision of the Chinese government. It might have been funded privately, and focused on making profits, but it really owns nothing it builds.

Nonetheless, this was its third successful orbital launch, making it the most successful of these Chinese pseudo-companies. It is also developing a Falcon 9 clone rocket dubbed Pallas-1, which it hopes to launch next year.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

34 SpaceX
29 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 49 to 29 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 49 to 47. A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch later today should strengthen this lead again.

The leade

August 8th quick space links

Some quick links, provided by reader Jay:

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