Author Topic: Yaogan-33(R) - Long March 4C - Jiuquan - December 27, 2020 (15:44 UTC)  (Read 15716 times)

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Well, so after quite some time of searching I have enough evidence to claim that, yes, there's at least one more Chinese launch before 2020 ends.

Persistent rumors of the Long March 4 series coming back - after reports of the 4B and 4C grounded by unspecified issues back in late October - before the year was out was out for several weeks already, and this was partially proven by the press releases after the Long March 8 flight on Dec. 22. Curiously, while CALT, CAST and XSLC (which also manages WSLC launches) both confirmed that the LM-8 flight is their last of the year, higher up organizations made no such "concluding remarks" - as is another of the major state organizations, SAST. This is in line with previous rumors and points to the last Chinese launch of the year (+) being an SAST rocket flying an SAST payload.

Now for SAST rockets, the LM-2D has already officially closed out its 2020 schedule after the GF-9-05 launch in August and the LM-6 confirmed after the November Satellogic flight that this was its only of 2020. Which leaves the LM-4 series as the only option.

Previously, before today, the other hint pointing to such a launch was the movement of the Yuan Wang 6 tracking ship, off the western coast of Australia. After tracking the LM-8 flight on December 22 the ship headed west and, according to those who have AIS tracking data access, is currently stopped at 25°26′ S 89°48′ E, which fits with tracking really down range parts of SSO launches out of Jiuquan.

Then 2 other news essentially confirmed the existence of this launch. Firstly an official news today on JSLC focusing on cold weather operations (stacking rockets at -15 Celsius, payload air control and launch pad operations etc.) shows that launch operations is going on right now (see photos below). Paraphasing Rogozin: This is no Boca Chica...

The other one is....a NOTAM. Yup, from the Yangon FIR off the Myanmar coast, and fits perfectly with SSO launches out of Jiuquan too!

A0330/20 NOTAMN
Q) VYYF/QWELW/IV/BO/W/000/999/1648N09342E010
A) VYYF B) 2012271538 C) 2012271604
D) 1538-1604
E) OWING TO CHINA SPACE FLIGHT ACTIVITIES.DUE
TO SPACEFLIGHT ACTIVITIES,THE FLIGHT SAFETY
OF THE AIRCRAFT IN FOLLOWING AREAS MAY BE
AFFECTED ON DEC 27,2020 DETAILS ARE AS
FOLLOWS:ON DEC 27,2020,FROM 1538UTC TO
1604 UTC
:AREAS:N164832 E0934207-N165801
E0925808-N180928 E0931449-N175952 E0935902,FOUR-
POINT CONNECTION RANGE,VERTICAL ALTITUDE:
SFC-UNL.NO OVF ACTIVITY IS PERMISSIBLE WITHIN
ABV MENTIONED AREA DURING HOURS OF SPACE
FLIGHT ACTIVITIES(CHINA).THE FOLLOWING ATS
ROUTES ARE REROUTED,NOT AVBL IN YANGON FIR.
1)P646-NOT AVBL BTN PTN VOR AND IBITA
(BIDIRECTIONAL)
2)N895/G472-NOT AVBL BTN PTN VOR AND SAGOD
(BIDIRECTIONAL)
F) GND G) UNL


So there you have it, how different hints and puzzles from various sources can help pinpoint the existence and details of a new Chinese spacecraft going to orbit and beyond, when at a glance all we got are "rumors".  :)

(+) CASIC and other "private start-ups" can still pull something out of the blue theoretically, however for CASIC all news on their KZ series RTF went silent after reports in early November that they "are preparing for RTF". Other companies didn't indicate any launch activities within the next few days. Such a launch is very highly unlikely until January at the earliest.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2020 03:19 pm by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Liss

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The closure zone:

This message reflects my personal opinion based on open sources of information.

Offline newfrontiers

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what's the payload?

Online Galactic Penguin SST

what's the payload?

No idea, but the evidence given above hints at something built by SAST (in any case not a CAST-built satellite, they have declared their 2020 launch schedule closed after the LM-8 launch).

The launch time is bizarre however (around midnight LT), rare for Chinese SSO launches. Unless the Yangon FIR got am/pm confused and it's 12 hours earlier/later, I'm not sure what kind of satellites would launch around that time to polar orbits.

Previous guesses include YG-33-02 (replacement for YG-33 that failed to reach orbit in May 2019) and the follow-on 1 m resolution C-Band SAR satellite to GF-3 ("GF-3-02"; however note that GF-3 was built by CAST). YG-31-02 which was known to be at JSLC can be ruled out due to NOTAM zones and tracking ship locations not fitting with such a scenario.
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Offline Liss

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Well, it will have LTDN of 22:00 -- and no previous Chinese launched observational SSO bird has LTDN at launch date beyond the 01:30--16:00 range.
One notable exception is the Indian-launched DMC3 triplet with a 22:10 LTDN.
This message reflects my personal opinion based on open sources of information.

Offline tehwkd

A0330/20 NOTAMN
Q) VYYF/QWELW/IV/BO/W/000/999/1648N09342E010
A) VYYF B) 2012271538 C) 2012271604
D) 1538-1604
E) OWING TO CHINA SPACE FLIGHT ACTIVITIES.DUE
TO SPACEFLIGHT ACTIVITIES,THE FLIGHT SAFETY
OF THE AIRCRAFT IN FOLLOWING AREAS MAY BE
AFFECTED ON DEC 27,2020 DETAILS ARE AS
FOLLOWS:ON DEC 27,2020,FROM 1538UTC TO
1604 UTC:AREAS:N164832 E0934207-N165801
E0925808-N180928 E0931449-N175952 E0935902
,FOUR-
POINT CONNECTION RANGE,VERTICAL ALTITUDE:
SFC-UNL.NO OVF ACTIVITY IS PERMISSIBLE WITHIN
ABV MENTIONED AREA DURING HOURS OF SPACE
FLIGHT ACTIVITIES(CHINA).THE FOLLOWING ATS
ROUTES ARE REROUTED,NOT AVBL IN YANGON FIR.
1)P646-NOT AVBL BTN PTN VOR AND IBITA
(BIDIRECTIONAL)
2)N895/G472-NOT AVBL BTN PTN VOR AND SAGOD
(BIDIRECTIONAL)
F) GND G) UNL


A4381/20 NOTAMN
Q) ZLHW/QARLC/IV/NBO/E/000/999/
A) ZLHW B) 2012271534 C) 2012271555
E) FLW SEGMENT OF ATS RTE CLSD:
1. V67: JIAYUGUAN VOR'CHW' - N393931E1003646.
2. B215: NOGEX - OMGUP.
3. W191: MULRU - RUSAT.
4. Y1: N350737E1000535 - MEPEP.
5. Y2: MEPEP - N335654E0982918.


A4384/20 NOTAMN
Q) ZLHW/QARLC/IV/NBO/E/000/999/
A) ZLHW B) 2012271534 C) 2012271615
E) FLW SEGMENT OF ATS RTE CLSD:
1. V67: JIAYUGUAN VOR'CHW' - N393931E1003646.
2. B215: NOGEX - OMGUP.
3. W191: MULRU - RUSAT.
4. Y1: N350737E1000535 - MEPEP.
5. Y2: MEPEP - N335654E0982918.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2020 09:11 am by tehwkd »
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Offline Conexion Espacial

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T-30 minutes for what would be the launch of the Long March 4 with an unknown payload.
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Offline GELORD

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北京时间今晚23时45分左右 , 长征四号丙运载火箭在酒泉卫星发射中心执行发射卫星任务,本次发射是我国今年第39次发射! ​​​
与战士站岗、炊事员做饭一样,航天员是一种职业,工作就是飞行。

Offline LeeMer

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北京时间今晚23时45分左右 , 长征四号丙运载火箭在酒泉卫星发射中心执行发射卫星任务,本次发射是我国今年第39次发射! ​​​

Image is from older CZ-4C mission.

Online Alter Sachse

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Yaogan 32-02 ?
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Online Galactic Penguin SST

Claimed to have been launched by one insider source that has been pretty reliable lately.
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Wating for news from Jiuquan!

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A post on 9ifly Chinese space forum says the launch has taken place. Waiting for official confirmation.

Offline Xusually

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Its Yaogan Weixing-33 (Yaogan Weixing-33 (02)?) and another smal sat!
« Last Edit: 12/27/2020 03:19 pm by Satori »

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Launch success officially confirmed.

LV: Long March 4C
Payload: Yaogan 33 (would have to be (R) since there was a previous YG-33 that failed to reach orbit) + 1 other payload (TBD)
T-0: 15:44 UTC
« Last Edit: 12/27/2020 03:26 pm by Galactic Penguin SST »
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CZ-4C (Y35)

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Launch photos...

Online Galactic Penguin SST

According to official reports, the Chinese finally realized that dropping rocket stages over the heads of other countries isn't a good idea, resulting in this & many future LM-4 series launches moving from Taiyuan to Jiuquan (for this launch this move was decided in early this year).

There's a slight capability penalty resulted due to this move and dog-leg required to drop the 2nd stage at sea (they expect more than half of LM-4 series launches to fly from Jiuquan in the future), but those 30-50 kg loss will be remedied later.

The LM-4 program vice-manager also reported that "not every future launches" will have grid fins on the 1st stages; they plan to use them whenever the drop zone is "near densely populated regions or near important infrastructure".

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/BFFe8ATYprRYLHVVoyWnaw

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