Science

Chinese satellite declared lost after consecutive launches on Monday

China has confirmed the loss of its Shiyan-10 satellite, despite a successful liftoff on Monday (September 27).

The Shiyan-10 satellite was launched into space on a Long March 3B rocket, which lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China around 4:20 a.m. EDT (0820 GMT; 4 p.m. local time) on Monday ( September 27th).

The spacecraft was China’s second orbital launch of the day, after the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D satellite, which was carried by a Kuaizhou-1A rocket that lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 2:19 a.m. am EDT (0619 GMT). ; 2:19 pm local time). That spacecraft is reported to have successfully entered orbit.

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A Kuaizhou-1A rocket launched the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on September 27, 2021. (Image credit: CCTV)

Chinese state media released a statement on Tuesday (September 28) confirming the failure of the Shiyan-10 satellite, claiming that the spacecraft was not operating as expected and had been lost after a normal flight the day before, SpaceNews reported.

Shortly after liftoff Monday, “a flash in the night sky” was seen over New South Wales, Australia, and was reported on Twitter. That flash was likely caused by a Long March 3B rocket upper stage burn, which, at the time, suggested the launch was underway, according to SpaceNews.

The name and purpose of the Long March 3B payload had not been confirmed prior to launch. However, data from the US Space Force showed that the payload pointed to a geosynchronous orbit around the Earth. A few hours after launch, an object was cataloged, confirming that the Shiyan-10 satellite had successfully separated from the upper stage of the rocket.

While the Long March 3B launch vehicle was confirmed to have performed normally, the Shiyan-10 satellite experienced abnormal operating conditions during launch and a failure was declared on Tuesday (September 28).

China’s Kuaizhou-1A rocket also returned to action on Monday (September 27), marking the rocket’s first flight since it failed to put the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02C satellite into orbit in September 2020. The rocket successfully delivered the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D satellite into orbit, SpaceNews reported.

Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D is a high-resolution Earth observation satellite and part of China’s planned Jilin-1 constellation of 138 high-performance remote sensing optical satellites.

The two launches on Monday were China’s 35th and 36th orbital launches of 2021. The launches were conducted by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), which is targeting more than 40 missions this year.

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