Long March 8 rocket

The new configuration of the Long March 8 rocket makes its first flight, setting a new record for China’s one rocket with multiple stars.

Long March 8 rocket

China News Agency, Beijing, February 27th (Ma Shuaisha Sangqian) The Long March 8 Yao-2 carrier rocket (hereinafter referred to as the “Changba Yao-2 Rocket”) ignited and took off at the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan on the 27th. 22 satellites were successfully put into the predetermined orbits, and the launch mission was a complete success. This is not only the first flight of the new configuration of the Long March 8 carrier rocket without boosters, but also set a record for China’s launch of multiple satellites with one arrow.

Long March 8 rocket
Long March 8 rocket

At 11:06 on February 27, China successfully launched 22 satellites into space using the Long March 8 carrier rocket at the Wenchang Space Launch Site, setting a new record for China with multiple satellites with one arrow. Photo by China News Agency reporter Luo Yunfei

First flight of new configuration without booster

The Changbayao II rocket was developed by the First Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The Long March 8 carrier rocket, which successfully flew for the first time in December 2020, is China’s new-generation main medium-sized carrier rocket. It fills the gap in China’s sun-synchronous orbit carrying capacity of 3 to 4.5 tons, and can undertake more than 80% of medium and low-orbit launch missions. The Changba Yao-2 rocket launch is the first flight of a new generation of carrier rockets in 2022, the first launch of the First Academy’s space mission in 2022, and the first flight of a new configuration without a booster.

Chen Xiaofei, deputy chief designer of the Long March 8 carrier rocket, said that compared with the Yao-1 rocket, the biggest difference in the shape of the Chang-8 Yao-2 rocket is that the two boosters have been cancelled, and the two-stage and a half-stage configuration has become Two-stage tandem configuration. From the successful first flight to the completion of the final assembly and testing of the remote 2 rocket and the factory conditions, the development team has only spent one year, which is due to the “modular” and “combination” design ideas adopted by the rocket.

According to reports, as early as the beginning of the development, the designers fully took into account the state of the rocket without a booster, and incorporated it into the assessment envelope of the remote rocket. Therefore, the Changbayao-2 rocket does not need to undergo large-scale changes, but only needs to be adapted to the load and flight trajectory to efficiently meet the mission requirements.

A new record of 22 stars with one arrow

Long March 8 rocket
Long March 8 rocket

The launch of 22 satellites with one arrow has set a record for the largest number of satellites launched by China at one time. However, to safely and successfully deliver so many satellites to their destination at one time, we must first solve the problem of the layout of the “passengers” in the fairing. The developers fully sorted out the structure and mission requirements of the satellites, and innovatively designed a three-layer multi-satellite distributor, which can arrange comfortable “seats” for each satellite within the limited fairing space, and can ensure that the satellites are in different directions. separation security.

“A total of 22 stars have to be separated for this mission, and a total of 12 separations have been completed, creating a new record for China’s aerospace industry. It can be said that the Changbayao 2 rocket in the separation of the star and arrow is like a ‘ballet’, and finally 22 stars are awarded. The release is like ‘the goddess scattered flowers’,” said Duan Baocheng, deputy commander-in-chief of the Long March No. 8 launch vehicle.

Not only that, after the development team completed the design of the multi-satellite distributor, it specially carried out the joint operation test of the satellite and the arrow. During the test, the installation operation sequence and layout position of the satellites were adjusted, and the satellite-rocket was adjusted through multiple rounds of simulation calculations. The separation action has been optimized to ensure the safety of the whole process of the satellite from “getting on” to “getting off”.

It is worth mentioning that the height of the fairing of the rocket of the present invention has also been shortened from 8 meters to 5.4 meters, which reduces the load on the key parts of the whole rocket. In this way, the release conditions for rocket launches can be appropriately relaxed, further improving the rocket’s mission adaptability.

The new model of shared rocket “carpooling”

The Changba Yao No. 2 rocket is a “shared rocket”, which carries 22 satellites launched from 7 research and development units. Xiao Yun, the commander-in-chief of the Long March 8 launch vehicle, vividly introduced this new sharing model, “Simply put, it is a carpooling scheme that provides users with affordable launch services, and the threshold is greatly lowered.”

Long March 8 rocket
Long March 8 rocket

In addition, because it is a shared launch, it needs to connect with multiple user units, and the coordination work is multiplied. In the face of difficulties such as iterative update of users and repeated plans during the development process, the development team needs to continue to carry out plan adjustment, feasibility and safety analysis. It is reported that through the successful exploration of the Changba Yao 2 rocket, the First Academy plans to promote the normalization of shared launches.

Long March 8 rocket

Xiao Yun said, “In the future, the demand for human beings to enter space is increasing. As a ‘national team’, we have the responsibility and the ability to realize the common prosperity of the space economy and accelerate the construction of a space power.”

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