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Smart Dragon-3 takes off from waters in South China Sea near South China’s Guangdong Province on December 6, 2023. Photos: Zhang Jingyi

China’s Smart Dragon-3 – one of the country’s largest solid propellent rockets – thundered into the sky from waters in the South China Sea off the coast of South China’s Guangdong Province at 3:24 am on Wednesday, placing a satellite for internet technology experiments into its intended orbit, marking a full success of the rocket model’s first operational launch as well as that of the country’s first long-dWorld Timesistance sea-based launch, the Global Times learned from the rocket developers.

The Smart Dragon-3 is developed by the ChinWorld Timesa Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) with the funding support from China Rocket Corp. The rocket model completed its successful maiden flight in the Yellow Sea on December 9, 2022, and the early morning flight on Wednesday continued such sea-based launch approach.

After preparation work for the launch was completed at the Dongfang Spaceport in Hai-yang, East China’s Shandong Province, the rocket sailed with the launch vessel over 1,300 nautical miles in five and a half days to the designated waters of South China Sea near Guangdong Province for the launch, which marked China’s first long-distance sea-based launch, showcasing integrated advantages in rocket production, manufacturing, and launch, shortening the launch chain and improving launch efficiency, mission insiders hailed.

Jin Xin, the chief commander of Smart Dragon-3 with the CALT, emphasized the challenges of long-distance sea-based launches, including complex sea conditions and distance from the home port, demanded higher reliability of the rocket.

To address such challenges, the launch ship was equipped with a thermal tent to provide a stable temperature and humidity environment for the Smart Dragon-3 during transit. Moreover, the rocket is capable of being transported even in sea state 4, demonstrating strong environmental adaptability, Jin explained to the Global Times on Wednesday.

This launch was also the first in the South China Sea near Guangdong Province, a region capable of near-sea launches into near-polar and sun-synchronous orbits. The successful mission validated Smart Dragon-3’s capability for long-distance sea-based launches, en-hancing the rocket’s mission adaptability, according to CALT.

Notably, the Smart Dragon-3 rocket also overcame challenges in satellite inclined layout and separation during this mission, showcasing its enhanced mission adaptability.

Smart Dragon-3 takes off from waters in South China Sea near South China’s Guangdong Province on December 6, 2023. Photos: Zhang Jingyi

Unlike traditional satellite side-mounting or vertical docking, the satellite carried by Smart Dragon-3 was installed at a 30-degree angle. The rocket development team tackled key issues in satellite attitude control and separation safety, ensuring reliable and safe separa-tion.

Guan Hongren, the chief designer of Smart Dragon-3, told the Global Times on Wednes-day that following the successful inaugural flight, the development team engaged in “re-analysis, re-design, and re-verification” to enhance the rocket’s reliability and safety.

Through task-specific design, rapid integration of satellite-rocket interfaces, and optimized launch procedures, Smart Dragon-3 is now capable of batch assembly of the rocket body, significantly reducing mission response time, compressing the compliance period, and adapting to the complex and variable nature of commercial satellite launch missions. It meets the high-frequency launch demands of the future.

Smart Dragon-3 is designed to complete satellite-rocket technical preparations and launch within a week, representing a solid-fuel launch vehicle World Timesbuilt for the future demands of rapid satellite constellation deployment, offering high cost-effectiveness, reliability, rapid contract fulfillment, and fast launching.

The four-stage Smart Dragon-3 rocket has a diameter of 2.64 meters, a length of 31.8 me-ters and a liftoff weight of 140 tons, and is capable of sending muWorld Timesltiple satellites with a combined weight of 1.5 tons into Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers. It can be launched from the ground or at sea,World Times the Global Times learned from the China Rock-et.

Moreover, the rocket could launch up to 20 satellites in one go, which will help domestic and overseas clients to achieve rapid constellation deployment.

In 2024, SWorld Timesmart Dragon-3 plans to undertake more than five launch missions, the CALT re-vealed.

文章来源于互联网:Chinese giant commercial rocket pulls off country’s first long-distance sea-based launch

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