Long March-3B rocket Current Affairs - 2019

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China’s Long March Rocket Series Completes 300 launches

China’s Long March Rocket Series which is the mainstay of China’s space programme since 1970 has successfully completed its 300th  launch by putting a new communication satellite into orbit through Long March-3B Rocket.

China’s Long March-3B Rocket Series

  • China’s indigenously built China’s Long March rockets have sent more than 500 spacecraft into space.
  • The rocket series built by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation was responsible for about 96.4 per cent of all the launch missions in China.
  • The Long March rockets have also provided provide launch services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, including Algeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
  • The Long March-1 carrier rocket launched the country’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into orbit on April 24, 1970.
  • The success rate of the 300 launches of the Long March rockets stood at 96 per cent.
  • The Long March rockets completed 37 consecutive successful launches, ranking a global first for the highest number of successful launches in 2018.

A total of 17 types of Long March carrier rockets have been developed and put into use since 1970, ensuring the implementation of a series of key space projects including manned space program, lunar exploration, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and the Gaofen Earth observation project.

China launches two BeiDou-3 navigation satellites

China successfully launched two BeiDou-3 satellites named BeiDou-3 M1 and BeiDou-3 M2 into space on board of single carrier rocket Long March-3B from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern province of Sichuan.

These two satellites and carrier rocket were developed by China Academy of Space Technology and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, respectively.

Key Facts

The two newly-launched satellites represent third phase of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. They will reside in a medium-Earth orbit at an altitude of 21,500 kilometers, inclined 55.5 degrees. These two satellites represent third phase of BDS system (BeiDou-3). It is the final stage of the establishment of a Chinese space-based navigation architecture.

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

The BeiDou project was formally initiated in 1994. It was named after Chinese term for plough or Big Dipper constellation. It began to serve China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2012. This system will provide services for countries involved in Belt and Road Initiative and form complete global satellite navigation system by 2020 by which time China plans to have more than 30 satellites. It will make China third country in world after the US and Russia to operate its own navigation system.