China's Space Program Thread II


(Continued from above...)

More presentation slides from Zhongke.

Current and planned rocket lineup:
– Lijian-1 in active service with a 500km/SSO carrying capacity of 1.5t.
– Lijian-2 under active development with a 500km/SSO capacity of 7.8t, first flight in 2024, will be the main workhorse for the launch of Shanghai Qianfan constellation (上海垣信千帆星座).
– Lijian-2 Heavy, 500km/SSO capacity of 12t.
– Lijian-3, 500km/SSO capacity of 20t (with recovery).
– Lijian-3 will also be used for space tourism, carrying a spacecraft for space tourism; suborbital flight (100-120km altitude), carrying capacity of 1.5 to 2 tons. First suborbital test flight planned for 2024 and will officially take in space tourists in 2028.

Two engines unveiled:
– Both use LOX/Kerosene and extensively use 3D printed components.
– Liqing-1 engine: thrust 20 tons.
– Liqing-2 engine: thrust 85 tons.


Typo correction: Lijian-2 will first fly in 2025, not 2024 as previously stated.


The Micro-satellite Innovation Institute –– whose proposal for a low-cost cargo transport system to the Chinese space station was among the submissions selected for detailed study –– has
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to use its Lijian-2 rocket to launch a verification cargo spacecraft in 2025. This could well refer to the scheduled maiden flight of Lijian-2.


Zhongke/CAS Space has officially signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hainan Commercial Spaceport. Zhongke commits to using launch pad no. 2 of the Hainan Commercial Spaceport to launch its Lijian-2 rocket in mid-2025.



High-resolution images from the latest Jielong-3/SD-3 sea launch, which successfully inserted into orbit a total of nine satellites: DRO-L; Zhixing 2A; Oriental Smart Eye Gaofen 01; Weihai-1 01 and 02; Star Epoch 18, 19, 20; and NEXSAT-1. This mission marks the third flight of the Jielong-3 carrier rocket.

Of note, NEXSAT-1 is an Egyptian observation micro-satellite. Oriental Smart Eye Gaofen 01, also known as Yantai 01, is an optical remote sensing satellite with a resolution of <0.5m at an altitude of 500km.

More information on the Star Epoch satellites launched on Feb. 2nd. These are all owned by China Mobile. Star Epoch 19, also known as China Mobile 01, is a verification satellite used to test 5G space internet technologies and has onboard 5G signal processing capabilities, serving as a non-terrestrial 5G base station for direct satellite-to-handset connections. Another of the Space Epoch satellites (not sure which of the remaining two) is nicknamed Star Core (星核), which will be used to verify distributed and autonomous architecture for 6G space broadband internet.

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GalaxySpace has unveiled its next generation (3rd gen) LEO broadband communication satellite. It will feature a large phased array antenna and support direct connection to mobile phones. Apparently, the phased array antenna and solar panels are integrated as one piece to reduce weight and save space.


Artist's impressions of the 3rd-gen GalaxySpace LEO broadband satellite, specifically how it deploys the large integrated AESA antenna and solar array.



According to this
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, the improved Long March 8 variant will have its maiden flight in June of 2024.

Compared to the basic LM-8, the improved variant will have a larger diameter final stage (increased from 3m to 3.35m) and a larger fairing (increased from 4.2m to 5.2m).


The 3.35m-diameter final stage (driven by the 10-ton Lox/LH2 YF-75H engine) of the improved Long March 8 has successfully completed full-system test run.