China launches two new technology experiment satellites
China sent two satellites into planned orbit from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province Saturday.
The two new technology experiment satellites, launched by a Long March-11 carrier rocket at 4:13 a.m. (Beijing Time), will be mainly used for the new Earth-observation technology experiment.
The Long March-11, developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, is the only rocket that uses solid propellants among China's Long March rocket series. It is mainly used to carry small satellites and can take multiple satellites into orbit at the same time.
Peng Kunya, chief designer of the Long March-11, said that it was the first time that the Long March-11 was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center, proving its adaptability to different launch sites.
The Long March-11 has been launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province. Last June, China conducted its first space launch from a sea-based platform via the rocket.
The fairing is a piece of material that is part of the rocket's nose cone to protect the payload. According to Peng, the Long March-11 used a fairing 2 meters in diameter for the first time. It provides more space for the payload, enabling the launch of multiple satellites on a single rocket.
Meanwhile, a highly-integrated and intelligent launch platform was also used in Saturday's mission. The platform enables the rocket to be launched at different launch sites and significantly reduces launch preparation time.
Saturday's launch was the 332nd mission of the Long March rocket series.