Long March 3B lifts off with two BeiDou-3 satellites on January 11, 2018. Photo Credit: Xinhua/Liang Keyan
China has conducted its second flight of 2018 by launching a Long March 3B rocket with a duo of BeiDou-3 spacecraft for its homegrown BieDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
The Long March 3B lifted off at 23:18 GMT (6:18 p.m. EST) on Thursday, January 11, from Launch Complex 2 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) in China’s Sichuan Province.
Artist’s depiction of Beidou-3 navigation satellite. Image Credit: China Academy of Sciences
The Long March 3B booster most likely stuck to its nominal flight plan, starting with a short vertical ascent before it began heading in a southeasterly direction. The rocket’s first stage burned for about two minutes and 20 seconds – accelerating the launch vehicle throughout the first phase of the flight. Some 20 seconds later, the first stage was jettisoned and the second stage assumed control over the flight.
The rocket’s second stage, burned for about three minutes, continuing to lift the spacecraft, raising its altitude. When the second stage separated, the third stage led the payload higher, and was detached at approximately 20 minutes into the flight. Then, the Yuanzheng-1 ...