Chinese Long March 2D launches Shiyan 5 Satellite
Shortly after launch, the SJ-15 satellite and the small Chuang Xin 3 satellite, began orbital maneuvers, including formation flying and closer rendezvous starting in August 2013. Robert Christy of www.zarya.info has kept track of the satellites and presents an excellent account of “Payload C’s” maneuvers on his website.
In early August, SJ-15 and CX-3 passed each other at different distances including a close pass of under two Kilometers with Payload C being the active spacecraft making a number of maneuvers to pull out in front of CX-3 or place itself behind its companion. Starting in mid-August, the two satellites parted ways. On August 18, the Shijian-15 satellite linked up with the eight-year-old Shijian-7 spacecraft coming within a few hundred meters of the satellite in a 565 by 610-Kilometer orbit. Later in August, Shijian-15 lowered its orbit after the apparent conclusion of rendezvous maneuvers. Since then, no further maneuvers by Payload C took place.
Payload A, presumed to be Shiyan-7 remained quiet until mid-October when it raised its orbit slightly before separating an object on or around October 18. Robert Christy was again tracking the activities of the satellite which he analyzes in great detail here.
Initially, Shiyan-7 was orbiting slightly less than 3 Kilometers behind the sub-satellite before executing a close rendezvous on October 24.
Long March 2D can launch Payloads of up to 3,500 Kilograms to Low Earth Orbit and has a SSO capability of up to 1,300kg. The CZ-2D Launcher was developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology and is capable of delivering payloads into a variety of Orbits, including Low Earth Orbit and Sun Synchronous Orbit.
Long March 2D features two stages, the first is identical to the Long March 4 Vehicle while the second stage is based on CZ-4, but has a modified equipment bay.
The Launcher stands 41.06 meters tall, has a diameter of 3.35 meters and a liftoff mass of 232,255 Kilograms.
For the first 170 seconds of Flight, the vehicle is powered by its first stage that is equipped with a YF-21C Engine that provides a thrust of 2,962 Kilonewtons. The stage is 27.91 meters long, 3.35 meters in diameter and filled with 183,200 Kilograms of Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine and Nitrogen Tetroxide Propellants for a total weight of the first stage at launch of 192,700kg.
The Center includes a large amount of facilities including two launch complexes, a technical center and a Mission Command and Control Centre/Launch Control Center as well as Ground Support Equipment needed for rocket launches such as propellant systems, tracking assets, weather forecast equipment and logistic support facilities.
Initially, Jiquan was used for satellite launches into Low Earth Orbit with high inclinations. Currently, its only active launch site is Launch Area 4 featuring two SLS - South Launch Site - Launch Pads. SLS-1 is used to support the manned space program while the SLS-2 site is used for satellite launches. SLS-1 was built in the late 1990s. A technical center is located close to the site. It includes the launch vehicle processing and vertical assembly building, spacecraft processing facilities, buildings for solid rocket motor processing as well as propellant storage facilities and the Launch Control Center.
Monday's launch was China’s 186th successful orbital launch, the 185th flight of the Long March series and the 12th successful Chinese orbital launch in 2013.