Author Topic: Kuaizhou, Kuaizhou-1 launch, Jiuquan - September 25, 2013 (04:37 UTC)  (Read 52041 times)

Offline Liss

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Anik, the latter one strongly suggest that the launch of 17-Mar-2012 did occur -- and probably ended in failure? Just as the purported Iranian launches...
« Last Edit: 09/28/2013 11:38 AM by Liss »
This message reflects my personal opinion based on open sources of information.

Offline anik

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Anik, the latter one strongly suggest that the launch of 17-Mar-2012 did occur -- and probably ended in failure? Just as the purpoted Iranian launches...

It is interesting that the next available photo of this launch site was made on March 28, 2012 - three days after previous photo! Did THEY know about launch?

Offline weedenbc

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DigitalGlobe does some of their own tasking, but a lot of their imagery comes from other people tasking their satellites. It stands to reason that someone knew about the launch (which isn't hard to figure out if you're watching for various intel warnings and indicators.
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Offline baldusi

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Anik, the latter one strongly suggest that the launch of 17-Mar-2012 did occur -- and probably ended in failure? Just as the purported Iranian launches...
Fourth stage is integrated stage/Payload. May be they just launched the first two or three stages suborbitally. Of course, the design does points to the payload doing double duty as avionics, too. Are there any NOTAM?

Offline edkyle99

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More new construction in this area also, of a couple of large buildings.  This doesn't look like a launch center that is going to be shut down any time soon!

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.958+N,+100.291+E&hl=en&ll=40.979363,100.286636&spn=0.008958,0.01929&om=1&t=k&z=16
« Last Edit: 09/28/2013 02:22 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline heinkel174

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Not it's not going to be shutdown...

Surely JSLC will remain busy as long as the DF-5 derivatives are in service. Even after they're retired, which I don't see happening for at least 10-15 years, JSLC is still the best among Chinese launch centers in terms of downrange safety (it's in the middle of nowhere), second only to the yet to be completed Wenchang.

One may even argue it's better than Wenchang in certain aspects. For manned launches it's much easier to do S&R overland than over water if an early ascent abort is conducted. It also supports a variety of of orbit inclinations. I have not doubt JSLC will be modified to support the CZ-7 family and remain strong for many decades.

Also the sole purpose of the Dongfeng Space City is to support the launch center. If JSLC is shut down, the entire region will be deserted. That's simply not going to happen.

Online Satori

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I was «traveling» around Jiuquan on Google Earth and went to the launch area of the recent KZ launch. I noticed three images on GEarth from Panoramio and clicking in one of those images (the central one) I came across with what appears to be a missile on a mobile transporter. Curiously, the picture is almost in line with the launch area of the KZ.

Probably is just an optical illusion, but its very curious.

ah! forget it!! The photo was loaded in Panoramio on December 2009!
« Last Edit: 09/30/2013 11:21 AM by Satori »

Online russianhalo117

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More new construction in this area also, of a couple of large buildings.  This doesn't look like a launch center that is going to be shut down any time soon!

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.958+N,+100.291+E&hl=en&ll=40.979363,100.286636&spn=0.008958,0.01929&om=1&t=k&z=16
There is even more construction if you look towards the southern and western edge as well as some the previous launch facilities starting to see evidence of new work. There is one large bright concrete apron for a pad with cranes working in a very bit and wide hole in the ground and looking at older Google images was not there (See the bottom most picture that I attached).
« Last Edit: 10/01/2013 03:31 PM by russianhalo117 »

Offline Star One

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On September 27, Kuaizhou-1 did at least two maneuvers and raised its orbit some 14-26 km.

Has it made any further manoeuvres as the initial orbit for it did seem rather on the low side for longer term operation?

Offline jcm

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On September 27, Kuaizhou-1 did at least two maneuvers and raised its orbit some 14-26 km.

Has it made any further manoeuvres as the initial orbit for it did seem rather on the low side for longer term operation?

No, still in 296 x 302 km orbit. Which is fine for operating for several months, it's higher than old Russian spy satellites,
so I don't see any reason to believe it isn't the intended orbit.
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Offline weedenbc

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Yep, I think that altitude is exactly in line with the stated mission of the booster, which is to be able to quickly launch ISR assets to respond to timely needs.  That translates into small, short-duration imaging satellites.
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Well take this with a bucket of salt, but someone posted on a Chinese spaceflight forum on some of the key parameters of the rocket and satellite:

- the rocket is launched on a 7-axle transport-erector launcher car (probably looks similar to the earlier photos that experts thought to be the car for the DF-41 ICBM)
- launch preparation time is only 12 hours
- Liftoff mass 30 tonnes
- LEO payload 400+ kg
- Nominal satellite working orbit at 300+ km altitude; requires propulsion for orbit keeping
- KZ-1's optical resolution is 1.2 m
- KZ-2, with a much higher resolution down to 0.3m, will be launched next year
- KZ-1 made orbital adjustments to observe the aftermaths of the Sep. 24 Pakistan earthquake, with satisfactory results

One note of interest is that per another Chinese forum member's observations, the orbital adjustments by KZ-1 on Sep. 27 did actually provide a straight down observation opportunity of Pakistan on Sep. 30; had it not done so it won't have any possible observation opportunity of the area till now within 45 degrees from the nadir.  ::)
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Online Satori

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A long range image of the Kuaizhou launch vehicle as been posted on the 9ifly space forum http://bbs.9ifly.cn/thread-12572-10-1.html

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Here's the launch pad as seen after launch on Sept. 25 (dug out by the very same forum member from other sources). This essentially confirms that the launch site is the one that Ed found some days ago.
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline weedenbc

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A few things about those reports of the missile are not adding up. 

One, the existence of the DF-41 is still a matter of rampant speculation.  The only public sources we have mentioning the DF-41 are those that don't have the best track record of factual reporting on Chinese military activities (ie, Bill Gertz and his friends in the Washington Free Beacon).  The latest edition of the NASIC Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Report makes no mention of the DF-41:
http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf

Second, the little info those sources have put forward on the DF-41 indicate that this is NOT a photo of the DF-41. The DF-41 is shown as a sealed launch container with a flat end: (edit Image 1)


What is shown here is a pointed end that matches pretty closely to this photo of a DF-21C (note, however that the accuracy of this photo is in question given the laughably bad Photoshop work on the ground to the left of it): (edit Image 2)

However, it's still unclear what the white cylinder with the black stripes is. On first glance it appears to be the rocket, but if this is indeed a DF-21C then that can't be the case as the missile is encased in the launch tube. Also, it's either got no nosecone or the nosecone is painted black while the body of the missile is white. That sort of paint scheme has been used before, as these photos of a DF-31 test indicate, but again the missile is enclosed in the launch tube and not exposed:
http://www.sinodefence.com/strategic/missile/df31.asp

As an alternative to a TEL, this could be some sort of mobile launch pad used for testing solid rockets. A few different examples of this can be found here:
http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-PLA-Ballistic-Missiles.html

Third, the launch pad posted by Ed is indeed it. The map location is here, 6km to the east of the Shenzhou launch pad:
http://goo.gl/LeKgQB

The two photos posted by Penguin appears to have been taken from the access road just a bit further east. In Google Earth, I was able to line up essentially the same shot (minus the zoom) to get the Shenzhou launch towers in the background as seen in the second photo (red arrow is where the Kuaizhou-1 launch pad is): (Edit Image 3)
« Last Edit: 10/11/2013 03:41 PM by weedenbc »
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Offline anik

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Third, the launch pad posted by Ed is not it

edkyle99 and I have posted photos of the same launch pad:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32914.msg1101732#msg1101732
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32914.msg1101991#msg1101991

I have no doubt that it is the launch pad for Kuaizhou rocket.

Offline weedenbc

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Maybe I am interpreting what you mean by "the pad" too literally.

Those links you posted then and just reposted are centered on the Shenzhou pad located at  40.957912°N 100.291292°E.  That's not it.  If you scroll the map to the east a bit down that long straight road, you'll find the actual pad located at 40.972344°N 100.363594°E that's shown in the photos by Anik and Penguin.

So yes, you're absolutely in the right area of Jiuquan. But the lat/long from the map links you posted are not exactly right, and that's what I was going off.
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Offline Star One

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On September 27, Kuaizhou-1 did at least two maneuvers and raised its orbit some 14-26 km.

Has it made any further manoeuvres as the initial orbit for it did seem rather on the low side for longer term operation?

No, still in 296 x 302 km orbit. Which is fine for operating for several months, it's higher than old Russian spy satellites,
so I don't see any reason to believe it isn't the intended orbit.

True. It's only expected to be short term asset then.

Offline edkyle99

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Maybe I am interpreting what you mean by "the pad" too literally.

Those links you posted then and just reposted are centered on the Shenzhou pad located at  40.957912°N 100.291292°E.  That's not it.  If you scroll the map to the east a bit down that long straight road, you'll find the actual pad located at 40.972344°N 100.363594°E that's shown in the photos by Anik and Penguin.

So yes, you're absolutely in the right area of Jiuquan. But the lat/long from the map links you posted are not exactly right, and that's what I was going off.
The Google map I presented showed the mobile pad that I suspect was used by Kuaizhou, and if you clicked the link it centered on that pad.  I presented it as an offset of an earlier link that was centered on the Shenzhou pad, which is why you see the specific lat-long numbers that you mention.  If you look closely at the Google link you will see the offset numbers.

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 10/09/2013 04:05 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline weedenbc

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I apologize then.  When I clicked on the link, it centered on the Shenzhou pad, and it wasn't obvious that it was meant to be the mobile pad.  Sorry about that.
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