Space Part 4

Pakistan’s reliance on US GPS ends as China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System has started to cover entire Pakistan

13 Feb, 2018

  • Pakistan’s reliance on US satellite navigation statement GPS ends as now China’s domestically developed Beidou Navigation Satellite System has started to cover entire Pakistan. China launched a pair of navigation satellites yesterday afternoon, moving closer to building a global network. By the end of this year, 18 third-generation Beidou satellites would be placed into orbit and they will work with the earlier generations to cover all nations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, the satellite office said.

Twin satellites launched to develop China’s BeiDou system


  • China successfully sent twin satellites into space on a single carrier rocket on Monday, marking the third launch of the country’s BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System. The 5th and 6th satellites of the BeiDou-3 network project – also the 28th and 29th orbiters for China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System – blasted off on a Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Long March 2D launches platform for earthquake observation into space


  • A Long March 2D launch vehicle carrying China’s first space-based platform for earthquake observation was launched at 3:51 pm on Friday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China. The Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite ZH-1, named after Zhang Heng (AD 78-139), the inventor of the seismoscope, fills a blank in China’s exploration of the global geomagnetic field, the ionospheric environment and its variations, which are closely related to earthquakes, Zheng said.

China Is Building the World’s Largest Steerable Radio Telescope

Jan 29, 2018

  • The upcoming Xinjiang Qitai 110-meter Radio Telescope will be able to hunt for distant galaxies and search for extraterrestrial life. The new telescope will be what’s known as a ‘steerable’ radio telescope, similar to the Green Bank Telescope (pictured above). A steerable radio telescope has its dish mounted on a series of actuators that allow it to point anywhere in the sky. While these types of telescopes are understandably less powerful, their versatility more than makes up for it.

China’s first X-ray satellite formally put into service


  • China’s first X-ray astronomical satellite was formally put into service on Tuesday, according to the China National Space Administration. The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), dubbed “Insight,” is designed to help scientists better understand the evolution of black holes and the strong magnetic fields and interiors of pulsars. Through the 2.5-tonne telescope, scientists will also study how to use pulsars for spacecraft navigation, as well as search for gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves.

China to launch 60 Jilin-1 video satellites by 2020


  • China plans to launch 60 Jilin-1 video satellites by 2020, the satellite developer said at the ongoing legislative session of northeast China’s Jilin Province. The high-resolution optical remote sensing satellites were independently developed by Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd. for commercial use. Currently, China has launched 10 Jilin-1 satellites into space.

200 days in China’s ‘moon lab’ pushes students to the lunar limit

26 January, 2018

  • Chinese students spent 200 days in a row in a “lunar lab” in Beijing, state media said on Friday, as the country prepares for its long-term goal of putting people on the moon. Four students crammed into a 160 square metre (1,720 sq ft) cabin called “Yuegong-1”, or Lunar Palace, on the campus of Beihang University, testing the limits of humans’ ability to live in a self-contained space, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Foreigners Will Pay For China’s Latest Gains In The Race For Outer Space

Jan 22, 2018

  • China launched January 19 a homegrown Long March 11 carrier rocket to send six satellites into space, state-run China Daily says. A Canadian company’s satellite was among them, the news website says. It called the launch a first for Chinese “solid propellant” rocket as opposed to more complex liquid propellant models and much earlier ones that rely on something like gunpowder.“Foreign companies have been using Chinese space launch services for years,” says Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “In fact, it’s a very lucrative field that China has been keen to compete in.”

China launches Long March 11 carrier rocket to send six satellites into space


  • China launched a Long March 11 carrier rocket on Friday to send six satellites into space, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The Long March 11 blasted off at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China at 12: 12 pm and later put six small satellites — two Earth-observation satellites made by a State-owned firm, three experimental satellites from Chinese private companies as well as an unidentified one from a Canadian company — into orbit.

China launches latest Beidou-3M satellite duo

January 11, 2018

  • A new pair of navigation satellites were successfully launched by China on Thursday, using a Long March-3B/YZ-1. The launch of the Beidou-3M pair took place at around 23:18 UTC from the LC2 Launch Complex of the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province. It took over four hours to complete the mission. It is expected that the Beidou-3MEO3 (Beidou-26) and Beidou-3MEO4 (Beidou-27) satellites will be onboard, but a TV news report following last November’s BDS launch – featuring the satellite production facility in Shanghai – referred that the two satellites about to be shipped were marked as “M7 & M8”. So, we will have to wait what designation is given to the satellites when in orbit.

Long March 2D sends China’s second Land Surveying Satellite to orbit

December 23rd, 2017

  • China launched into space its second Land Surveying Satellite (LKW-2) on Saturday, December 23, 2017, atop a Long March 2D booster. The mission most likely lasted about 10 minutes counting from liftoff to deployment of the satellite. The Long March 2D booster burned its first stage for some three minutes after launch. Afterward, the rocket’s second stage controlled the mission for the remaining seven minutes, which ended with the insertion of the payload into a low-Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of approximately 310 miles (500 kilometers).

China plans remote sensing satellites over South China Sea


  • China’s southern island province of Hainan has unveiled a satellite launch plan to assist remote sensing coverage over the South China Sea. The Sanyan Institute of Remote Sensing said the mission would start in 2019, when it would launch three optical satellites. After that, it will add another three optical satellites, two hyperspectral satellites and two SAR satellites to complete the Satellite Constellation Program by 2021, for conducting round-the-clock remote-sensing over the tropical sea area.

Chinese Long March 3B lofts Alcomsat-1 for Algeria

December 10, 2017

  • The Alcomsat-1 launch comes several years after it was originally hoped, having initially scheduled for launch in 2014. The Chinese made Algerian satellite is dedicated to space communications, providing broadcast services, Internet, telephony and VSAT services. The satellite was developed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and is based on the DFH-4 platform. Its communications payload is composed of 33 operational transponders (19 in Ku band, 12 in Ka band and 2 in L band). The satellite will operate for 15 years on the geosynchronous orbit. Launch mass is around 5,200 kg.

Long March 2D lofts latest Yaogan Weixing satellite – named LKW-1

December 2, 2017

  • As per usual for the Chinese media, this spacecraft is once again classed as a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring. As was the case in previous launches of the Yaogan Weixing series, analysts believe this class of satellites is used for military purposes. Yaogan-31 is probably an electro-optical observation satellite based on the military Jianbing-6 series or in follow-on series to Jianbing-6.

Long March 6 launches Jilin-1 trio

November 21, 2017

  • China launched three commercial remote sensing satellites to be used for high definition video in what is known as the Jilin-1 constellation. The launch took place at 04:50 UTC on Tuesday from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center’s LC16 Launch Complex using the Long March-6 (Chang Zheng-6) launch vehicle. The Jilin-1 constellation was developed in China’s Jilin Province and is the country’s first self-developed remote sensing satellite for commercial use. Jilin-1 consists of several satellites that will provide data to commercial clients to help them forecast and mitigate geological disasters, as well as shorten the timescale for the exploration of natural resources. From 2030, the Jilin constellation will have 138 satellites in orbit, forming an all-day, all-weather, full spectrum acquisition segment data and a capability of observing any global arbitrary point with a 10 minutes revisit capability, providing the world’s highest spatial resolution and time resolution space information products.

China honors founding scientist of FAST telescope


  • China has honored Nan Rendong, founding scientist of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), with a posthumous title of “role model of our times.” Nan had worked as the chief scientist of a team who selected the site for FAST and oversaw its construction since 1994, before his death due to sickness in September at the age of 72. FAST, currently the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, has identified multiple pulsars after one year of trial operation, according to the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) in October.

China’s nuclear spaceships will be ‘mining asteroids and flying tourists’ as it aims to overtake US in space race

17 November, 2017

  • China is on course to develop nuclear-powered space shuttles by 2040, and will have the ability to mine resources from asteroids and build solar power plants in space soon after, according to state media. According to the report, a new “nuclear fleet” of carrier rockets and reusable hybrid-power carriers will be ready for “regular, large scale” interplanetary flights, and carrying out commercial exploration and exploitation of natural resources by the mid-2040s.

Chinese weather satellite launched into polar orbit

November 14, 2017

  • A Chinese Long March 4C rocket launched Tuesday with a new polar-orbiting weather observatory named Fengyun 3D, replacing an aging satellite for the China Meteorological Administration. The Fengyun 3D satellite lifted off at 1835 GMT (12:35 p.m. EST) Tuesday from the Taiyuan space center in Shanxi province located in northeastern China. A three-stage Long March 4C rocket boosted the approximately 2.5-ton satellite toward the south from Taiyuan, where launch occurred at 2:35 a.m. local time Wednesday

China’s BeiDou navigation goes global as twin satellites launched


  • China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system is going to cover the whole world, thanks to the two BeiDou-3 satellites launched into space yesterday. China is the third country in the world to own a self-developed sat-nav system, after GPS in the US and GLONASS in Russia. The country intends to launch additional 18 BeiDou-3 satellites next year, which will cover all the Belt and Road countries.

China’s reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

Nov 02, 2017

  • China plans to launch its reusable spacecraft in 2020, according to a statement from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation Tuesday. Unlike traditional one-off spacecraft, the new spacecraft will fly into the sky like an aircraft, said Chen Hongbo, a researcher from the corporation. The spacecraft can transport people or payload into the orbit and return to Earth.

Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei among first UNESCO Space Science Medal winners


  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has awarded the UNESCO Medal on Space Science to first Chinese national sent to space, Yang Liwei, and three other prominent international space practitioners during the first edition of the award ceremony.

China announces new gravitational wave observation


  • Chinese scientists on Monday announced observation of the “optical counterpart” of gravitational waves coming from the merger of two binary neutron stars using a survey telescope in Antarctica. The gravitational waves were first discovered by the U.S.-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors on Aug. 17. The Chinese telescope independently observed optical signals resulting from the merger the next day, according to the Chinese Center for Antarctic Astronomy. It was the first time humans have detected gravitational waves and the corresponding electromagnetic phenomena resulting from a binary neutron star merger.

Massive Chinese Telescope Discovers Two Pulsars While Still in Trial Stage


  • After one year of trial operations, China’s 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), a 30-football-field-large radio telescope that is currently the world’s largest, recently discovered two pulsars 16,000 and 4,100 light years from Earth, respectively. Pulsars are magnetized and rotating collapsed stars that emit electromagnetic beams. Researchers from the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) confirmed Tuesday that the new pulsars J1859-01 and J1931-01 were discovered on August 22 and 25 while the telescope was scanning the southern galactic plane. Australia’s Parkes radio telescope confirmed the discovery in September, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

China plans to launch rockets into space from massive freighters and planes

September 29, 2017

  • China’s land-based Long March space launch rockets have been the backbone of its space program for more than 40 years. It looks like that’s about to change, as the nation is making moves to launch from aircraft and ships. Starting next year, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC) will use 10,000-ton freighters as ocean-going launchpads for its Long March 11 launch rocket. The Long March 11 can carry up to 1,100 pounds into low-earth orbit. The plan is to bring the freighters to the equator, so the rockets require less fuel and can accommodate larger payloads. Another alternative is from the air. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology announced this month that they’re developing a solid-fueled space launch rocket to be dropped from the Y-20. The rocket itself is expected to weigh about 60 tons (the Y-20’s payload is 66 tons) and has a low Earth orbit payload of 220 pounds.

‘World’s biggest planetarium’ coming to Pudong

September 22, 2017

  • SHANGHAI Planetarium is reaching for the stars. By the time it is built, it will be the world’s biggest planetarium, according to Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, which will run it. From the observatory, space enthusiasts will be able to look through an astronomical telescope to observe the solar system. “This telescope will also have research functions,” said Shi Wei, director of the planetarium’s exhibition and education department. “It will be open to students to support their research projects. We will also build up a database and provide pictures taken by the astronomical telescope to astronomy fans.”

China’s atomic clock passes space test

Sep. 20, 2017

  • The Cold Atom Clock Experiment in Space (CACES) involves trapping, cooling, and probing rubidium atoms within a box that could fit in the trunk of a car. In orbit at an altitude of 400 kilometers, the experiment was launched on board China’s Tiangong-2 space laboratory last September. Now, a year later, it is performing just as expected, according to a paper posted to the arXiv server by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’s Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics. Shanghai team leader Liang Liu says that he and his colleagues “had to work night and day” to get CACES ready for launch. They “encountered tremendous technical difficulties,” he recalls, in shrinking the bulky and complex equipment needed to trap and cool atoms and also ensuring that the kit withstands the rigors of space. “Fortunately we did it, and after a year in orbit CACES is still working perfectly,” he says.

Work on China’s mission to Mars ‘well underway’

September 20, 2017

  • China’s programme to launch a mission to Mars in 2020 is “well underway”, its top planner said Wednesday as the country moves forward with its ambitious space programme. The probe will carry 13 types of payload including six rovers, the official Xinhua news agency said. “The Mars exploration programme is well underway,” it cited the mission’s chief architect Zhang Rongqiao as saying. “The payloads will be used to collect data on the environment, morphology, surface structure and atmosphere of Mars.”

China’s Tiangong-2 space lab marks one year in orbit after achieving major objectives

Sep 15, 2017

  • While the Cassini probe makes its mission-ending dive into the upper atmosphere of Saturn, much closer to home China’s Tiangong-2 space lab is marking a year in orbit. Since Tiangong-2 was launched late on September 15, 2016, it has hosted China’s longest crewed mission so far, performed a range of science experiments, been the target for the country’s first orbital refuellings and docking tests with the Tianzhou-1 cargo ship, and is soon set to continue orbiting alone. Tiangong-2 was designed and launched in order to test and verify technologies for larger space station modules.

Chinese cargo spacecraft completes automated fast-docking with space lab


  • China’s first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, completed an automated fast-docking with Tiangong-2 space lab at 11:58 p.m. Tuesday. Controlled from Earth, Tianzhou-1 began to approach Tiangong-2 at 5:24 p.m. Tuesday and it took six and a half hours to complete the fast-docking with the space lab. It was the third docking between the two spacecraft using fast-docking technology. Previously, it took about two days to dock.

China Developing Solid Fuel Rocket Launchable From New Y-20 Transport Plane

September 11, 2017

  • Chinese scientists are reportedly developing a new solid fuel rocket which could be launched from country’s first domestically made jumbo air freighter, the Yun-20. According to experts at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT), they are developing a new solid fuel rocket which could be launched by the Yun-20 in flight, sending a 100-kg load into near-earth orbit, Global Times reports citing a report by China Central Television (CCTV) Monday. The report did not provide any more details on it.

China’s ‘physics-defying’ EmDrive could allow journey to Mars in weeks

13 Sep, 2017

  • Scientists in China claim to have developed a working prototype of the EmDrive, according to state TV, with a test due to take place in space in the near future. Developed by scientist Dr Chen Yue at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), it would put China’s space agency ahead of NASA. The EmDrive is key to the future of space exploration, eliminating the need for a conventional propellant to produce thrust. “For every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction,” Newton’s Third Law states, emphasising the need for propellant in all modes of travel.

Two distant hypervelocity stars discovered by Chinese astronomers

September 4, 2017

  • A group of Chinese astronomers led by Yang Huang of the Yunnan University in Kunming, China, has detected two new unbound hypervelocity stars located over 70,000 light years away. The discovery, described in a paper published Aug. 29 on the arXiv pre-print server, could help scientists better understand the nature of these rare, peculiar stars. Hypervelocity stars (HVSs) are rare objects with velocities so great that they exceed the escape velocity of the galaxy. Astronomers believe that they originate near the center of the Milky Way galaxy by dynamical interactions between binary stars and the central massive black hole. While ordinary stars have velocities around 100 km/s, the velocities of HVSs can reach even 1,000 km/s.