Chinese Space Plane (CSSHQ) | Long March 2F/G

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Featured image: Xinhua
Lift Off Time

August 05, 2022 – 16:00 UTC
August 06, 2022 – 00:00 BJT

Mission Name

CSSHQ

Launch Provider
(What rocket company launched it?)

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)

Customer
(Who paid for this?)

China National Space Administration (CNSA)

Rocket

Long March 2F/G

Launch Location

LA-4/SLS-1, Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gobi Desert, China

Payload mass

Up to 8,400 kg (18,500 lb)

Where did the spacecraft go?

Low Earth orbit (LEO) at 346 x 593 km at a 50° inclination

Did they attempt to recover the first stage?

No, this is not a capability of the Long March 2F

Where did the first stage land?

It crashed over land north east of the launch site

Did they attempt to recover the fairings?

No, this is not a capability of the Long March 2F

Were these fairings new?

Yes

This was the:

– 2nd launch of China’s experimental space plane
– 18th launch of a Long March 2F rocket
– 69th orbital launch attempt of 2022 (66th successful)

Where to re-watch

There’s no official replay available

How Did It Go?

On August 05, 2022 at 16:00 UTC, a Long March 2F launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in China. The rocket launched a Chinese space plane, similar to the US X-37B into an elliptic 345 x 593 km orbit at 50° inclination.

CSSHQ

The Chinese space plane, also called CSSHQ is an experimental space plane similar to the X-37B. Similar to its previous launch in September of 2020, the spacecraft has again deployed payloads. This time it seems that it has deployed two small satellites that are probably monitoring the space plane while orbiting Earth in close proximity of the space plane. Due to the classified nature of this spacecraft, not much is known about its dimensions/weight, or purpose. Not even pictures of the space plane are public and there is no information on this mission’s duration. The previous mission of the CSSHQ in 2020 only lasted for nearly two days before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere and landing strip near Lop Nor. This time, the spacecraft is still orbiting the Earth in its elliptical orbit.

What Is The Long March 2F/G?

The Long March 2F/G is a Chinese rocket and member of the Long March 2 rocket family. Designed to launch bulkier payloads than the Shenzhou spacecraft, the Long March 2F/G is a derivative of the human rated Long March 2F, a two stage version of the Long March 2E rocket. The 2F/G is externally similar to the 2F and the 2E, with main change being the inclusion of a bigger fairing. The rocket features the same structural changes which allows the 2F to support the heavier fairing required by the Shenzhou capsule. The 2F/G, just like the 2F, is also capable of carrying heavier payloads thanks to the additional boosters on the first stage.

The very similar Long March 2F on the launch pad. (Credit: Xinhua)

Boosters

The Long March 2F/G has 4 boosters, each of which are 15.3 m (50 ft) in length, and each with one YF-20B engine. The YF-20B burns dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4 ) and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) in a gas generator cycle. The boosters have a burn time of 128 seconds, and a specific impulse (ISP) of 291 s. Collectively the boosters produce 3,256 kN (732,000 lbf) of thrust at lift off.

First Stage

The first stage of the Long March 2F/G is 23.7 m (78 ft) in length and 3.4 m (11 ft) in diameter. Just like the boosters, this stage has four YF-20B engines, burning N2O4 and UDMH. This stage has a burn time of 166 seconds, and an ISP of 291 s.

Second Stage

The second stage is powered by a single YF-24B engine module, comprising a YF-22B engine and a YF-23B vernier, which again runs on N2O4 and UDMH. The stage is 13.5 m (44 ft) in length and 3.4 m (11 ft) in diameter, and provides 831 kN (187,000 lbf) of thrust. This stage has an ISP of 289 s, and will burn for approximately 300 seconds.

The post Chinese Space Plane (CSSHQ) | Long March 2F/G appeared first on Everyday Astronaut.

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