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November 4-10, 2019 / Vol 38, No 44 / Hawai’i Island, USA

1 Nov 2019, 20:18 UTC
November 4-10, 2019 / Vol 38, No 44 / Hawai’i Island, USA
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Wenchang SLC Spaceport in Hainan, China / Zhongguo Prepares for 2020s Decade

Operations at the newest, largest, and most equatorial China Spaceport are preparing for a new 2020s Long March 5 era advancing Chang’e-5 Moon, Space Station and first Mars Missions. Long March 5 has arrived in Wenchang, having been transported via Yuanwang 21 and 22 cargo ships from Tianjin to Qinglan Port – a significant logistical advantage over landlocked spaceports, allowing for rocket booster segments of large diameter to be transported. Sometimes described as “China’s Hawaii”, sharing 19° N latitude with both Hawaii and Chang Mai, Thailand, Hainan / Wenchang takes advantage of the rotational speed of Earth. Over 2 years of arduous technical review has followed the last unsuccessful launch attempt, eventually identifying turbo pump malfunction as the cause of failure. The long-awaited return of China flagship rocket will be a makeup of sorts, with the Shijian 20 experimental communications satellite taking the place of the lost Shijian 18. With liftoff weight of 869,000 kg, LEO payload capacity of 25,000 kg, GTO payload capacity of 14,000 kg and TLI payload capacity of 8,200 kg, Long Mach 5 is designed to be “capable of launching different kinds of ...

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